Kiev, Jul 2: Spain retained their European championship title in style, beating Italy 4-0 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to become the first side to complete back-to-back wins in the competition's 52-year history.
Manchester City's David Silva opened the scoring in the 14th minute yesterday, heading home a pinpoint cross from Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas, after a fired-up Spain, earlier accused of playing a "boring" possession game, came out all guns blazing.
Jordi Alba made it two on 41 minutes after he ran onto a sublime through-ball from his new Barca team-mate Xavi Hernandez and slotted a left-foot shot past the advancing Gianluigi Buffon.
Fernando Torres, who scored in Spain's 1-0 Euro 2008 final win against Germany four years ago, made it three with six minutes left while his Chelsea colleague Juan Mata made it four on 88 minutes.
"La Furia Roja" are now the only side to have won three consecutive major titles, with European wins either side of their World Cup victory in 2010. Tens of thousands of people young and old thronged the streets of Rome and Madrid to watch the game on giant screens, with both historic capitals a sea of green, white and red Italian tricolors and red and yellow Spanish flags.
But it was Spanish fans who erupted at the final whistle with shouts of "Campeones! Campeones! (Champions! Champions!)" in scenes of wild celebration that brought unbridled joy to a nation struggling with recession.
"Today the whole country is united as one and everyone is in the Euro. And the crisis? No-one is thinking about the crisis," said 23-year-old business student Miguel Revert outside a central Madrid sports bar.