Man of the Match: Xavi. A magnificent assist for Spain’s second-goal took all the confidence out of the Italian side. The Barcelona maestro added another glorious assist for the third goal and dominated the midfield throughout. Iniesta alongside him was also at his radiant best, but in what could be his final international tournament match, Xavi was the central figure. Interestingly, he also did an important pressing job on Italy’s key player, Andrea Pirlo.
Spain verdict: Spain were at their imperious best in this final, following a tournament in which they have faced increasing criticism for their style of play. In the knockout rounds they may have been ponderous, but against Italy they were incisive, vibrant and full of invention. Having come under pressure midway through the first-half, they rode the storm and at the first opportunity cut through their opponents to stretch their league. A complete display.
Italy verdict: Italy did well to get to the final of Euro 2012, including a fine victory over Germany, but they were defensively at sea in the face of Spain’s passing game. Able to compete manfully in midfield, the possession statistics are kinder on Italy than to most of Spain’s opponents, but the strikeforce was not supplied with the ammunition needed to trouble the reigning champions. Questions will be asked as to whether they approached the game with the right tactical set-up.
Could do better: Cesare Prandelli. Having nullified Spain in the tournament’s opening game, Prandelli opted not to revert to the 3-5-2 that served them so well in that encounter. Chiellini was kept at left-back from the semi-final and struggled from the start, before being withdrawn through injury. Prandelli was unlucky and could not have predicted Thiago Motta would also leave the pitch with a hamstring problem, but the decision to bring on a defensive midfielder when in search of a goal was questionable.
Stat Attack: Iker Casillas kept his ninth European Championship clean sheet – equalling Edwin van der Sar’s record.