Things to Know:
The UEFA Euro 2012 Final was a football match that took place on 1 July 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, to determine the winner of UEFA Euro 2012. Spain, who defeated Germany 1–0 to win Euro 2008, successfully defended their title with a 4–0 win over Italy, becoming the first team to win two consecutive European Championships, and the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments – Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. It was the greatest margin of victory in the history of the European Championship finals, and the fourth time that teams who played each other in the group stage played each other again in the final (1988, 1996 and 2004). Usually, the winner of the European Championship gains entry to the Confederations Cup, which was played in Brazil in 2013. However, since Spain already qualified as the 2010 World Cup champions, Italy qualified automatically as the UEFA representative, with their win in the semi-final against Germany, despite losing in the final to Spain. Despite accusations of playing negative, defensive football, Spain took control early in the game, as a characteristically long spell of possession ended with a Xavi shot that went just over. They took the lead in the 14th minute, though, when Andrés Iniesta played a through-ball to Cesc Fàbregas, who drove past Giorgio Chiellini to the by-line before pulling back a cross for David Silva to head into the net from six yards. Chiellini was clearly struggling with a thigh injury he had picked up in the earlier rounds, and he was replaced by Federico Balzaretti after 20 minutes. Italy responded with a couple of shots from Antonio Cassano that were saved by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, but Spain doubled their lead before half-time, when Xavi picked out left-back Jordi Alba, who capped a long forward run with a precise finish past Gianluigi Buffon in the Italy goal. Antonio Di Natale came on for Cassano at half-time and twice went close to scoring, the second effort forcing a save from the onrushing Casillas. Italy’s final substitution saw Thiago Motta replace Riccardo Montolivo, but he soon suffered a hamstring injury; with all of their substitutes used, Italy had to play the last 30 minutes of the match a man down. Fernando Torres replaced Fàbregas with 15 minutes left to play, and scored in the 84th minute – assisted by Xavi – to become the first man to score in two European Championship finals. Torres then turned provider four minutes later, cutting the ball back with the outside of his boot for fellow substitute and Chelsea forward Juan Mata to sweep into an empty net for a final score of 4–0, the widest margin of victory in any European Championship final. Spain became the first team to retain the European Championship title and also the first European team to win three major international competitions in a row.