History or Misery

It’s here – today – 20:45 CET.

The chance for Spain to create history and win 3 major tournaments back-to-back.

Will the La Roja boys be furia or will they be manso?  The odds aren’t much in their favour – they haven’t beaten Italy in a competitive 90 minutes since 1920.

The teams are making their way into the stadium as I write this.  La Roja looks very concentrated and serious.

Tournament Stats so far (shamelessly lifted from the UEFA Euro official site):

Click here to convert the kick-off time to your time:  Spain vs. Italy

Click here to watch the Preview Show which starts at 20:00:  Preview Show

Click here if you need a link to watch the game at 20:45:  Game Links

Please share other links in the comments.

¡Vamos España!

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  1. mom4
    July 1, 2012

    Silva again…*sigh*

    • nia
      July 1, 2012

      I was thinking the same up until he scored.

  2. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Official Spain line-up:

    Arbeloa Ramos Pique Alba
    Alonso Xavi Busquets
    Silva Cesc Iniesta

    How original.

    • July 1, 2012

      He lives up to his nickname, dull Bosque 🙂

  3. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Official Italy line-up:
    De Rossi

  4. July 1, 2012

    It’s fair to say that Cesc moving to Barcelona has helped his place in the national team. Go Cesc!

  5. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Team on the pitch for warm-up.

  6. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Playing the offside trap will be crucial to contain Balotelli and Cassano.

    Spain needs to keep 4 at the back – especially when Silva loses so much ball.

    The momentum for attack needs to come from Spain’s midfield.

    I saw great German analysis for Italy’s 1st goal against them where Italy came at them with 4-5 players in the frontline and completely overwhelmed the German defence. Hope that La Roja has also analysed that play.

  7. July 1, 2012

    Ramos and Pique better not do anything stupid. I hope they have a good game. Never thought I would say that about a RM player 😀

    • Jim
      July 1, 2012

      Not sure why you would single them out. Trouble is more likely to come through the FBs imo. They have been pretty good so far after a shaky start. Looking forward to the game. I still think Alonso and Silva lose possession too much for Spain’s possession game but no matter what happens Spain have done well and confounded a few of my friends who were assuring me that I was watching the end of an era. Plus I drew Spain in the sweepie at work 🙂

  8. Jim
    July 1, 2012

    You’ve got to admire Bouffon’s singing of the national anthem. Way to go ! No offence but it’s about time Spain got an anthem with words. We should’ve lent them Flower of Scotland. At least we’ d have contributed to a major football event 🙁

  9. July 1, 2012

    Wow!!!!! Please hold on to this lead 😀

    Have to say Silva has been working hard. Xavi looks really lively too 🙂

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      Silva still losing too much ball. He really needs to tidy up this part of his game. Defensively he’s been solid.

      A revitalised Spain huh? Holding something back for the main event, perhaps?

      Looks like VdB may be bringing on Llorente/Torres and then sitting back in a more defensive role and doing an Italy by feeding the long ball forwards.

    • Jim
      July 1, 2012

      Both Silva and Alonso have been losing the ball far too much. However it would be churlish to hold it against them considering the effort they are putting in.

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      I will if it leads to a successful counter by the Italians! 🙂

    • Jim
      July 1, 2012

      Only worry left is Pique’s booking. The Italians will be falling at every opportunity.

  10. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Cassano off for Di Natale!

  11. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Italy down to 10 men for the rest of the game.

  12. July 1, 2012

    Looks like the extra day of rest did Xavi a world of good. Iniesta is a beast. Tito also have to make sure that Xavi is rested properly into the next season.

  13. July 1, 2012

    Torres scored! AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

  14. July 1, 2012

    Well, I guess Llorente won’t get his minutes 🙁

  15. July 1, 2012

    And Xavi has been amazing!!! Xavi is not suffering anymore 🙂

  16. July 1, 2012

    Mata scored. Let’s bet on a manita.

  17. mom4
    July 1, 2012


  18. July 1, 2012

    Congrats Spain!!! History!!!!

  19. barca96
    July 1, 2012

    All 4 goals created by Barça players.

    Xavi deserves the MOtM award with a magnificent display and 2 assists.

  20. July 1, 2012

    And Torres wins the Golden Boots because he scored three goals and assists two according to twitter. How did that happen?

    • swamidigital
      July 1, 2012

      Ironic considering Cesc was much better than him most tournament, imo.

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      Dunno – but Balotelli was absolutely gutted when Torres scored. Up until then, he was the leading contender because he was in the final.

    • July 1, 2012

      Torres gets the Golden Boot because he scored the most goals with the fewest minutes. He has trolled everyone. Good for him!

    • July 2, 2012

      lol Blitzen…so funny!
      So Torres got the TTT (Troll of the Tournament) Award?

  21. Blau-Grenade
    July 1, 2012

    A lot of respect for the Italian soccer team and Cesare Prandelli for the way they played this competition. Spain just had that little bit extra. They marked Pirlo and Cassano out of the match. That nullified their 2 main play-makers. And then Spain scored with the unlikeliest of scorers, David Silva and Jordi Alba. The game was over at that point. The Thiago Motta injury was the nail in their coffin. Italy were already beginning to be pretty tired at that point.

  22. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Buffon was sheer class in his interview.

    He was asked if the Italian team ran out of luck, and he replied, “No, Spain was simply much better than us.”

  23. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    4-0 is the largest winning margin of any Euro or World Cup final. (According to German commentators.)

    • Helge
      July 2, 2012

      How come that you watched the ZDF broadcast (living in Barcelona, being originally from New Zealand, if I remmeber correctly)?

      Or have you watched it with a German friend of yours, the one you once mentioned in a comment about patriotism during football matches (and the non-existence of it for some people like me)?

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      We have a VPN connection in Germany which allows us to stream the ZDF broadcast to our computers.

      The commentary is so much better than anything on Spanish TV – it’s full of facts and good observations, whereas the Spanish commentary is all about screaming over-excitement, and they block all the ambient atmospheric noise, from the stadium, out of the audio feed. The after-match analysis is also world-class on ZDF.

      The Spanish commentators love to hear themselves talk!

  24. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Cesc’s shirt is a dedication to:

    Dani Jarque
    Manolo Preciado
    Antonio Puerta
    Miki Roque

  25. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Ex-German goalkeeper, Oli Kahn, was just asked who could have beaten Spain today.

    He replied, “No one from this planet.” 😀

    • July 1, 2012


      I always loved him. 😀

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      He also said that Silva didn’t score the goal – it was Cesc’s goal. The ball simply deflected off Silva’s head. 😀

    • July 1, 2012

      Love King Kahn!

  26. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Pique doing his usual thing and cutting down the goal net! 😀

    • Helge
      July 2, 2012

      Ah damn it! I must have missed that scene, and I was wondering, why the hell does Piqué not take the goal net with him ?!?
      Did he cut the whole net, or just a small part of it?

      Maybe he wants to stick them all together and present it to Shakira as her wedding dress 😀

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      He cut a lot out of this one – pic here: Pique with net

      Much more than he was allowed to do with the net after the CdR Final – he was only allowed to take a small square!

      Wedding dress for Shakira? Sexy! He’s been planning this for a while then – since before he met her. He first took the net from the CL final in Rome! 😀

    • Helge
      July 3, 2012

      Probably it is exactly that creativity and romanticism with which Piqué won her over 😉

      At least it’s a better way to chat someone up than wearing his ‘F*ck me I’m famous’ cap or shirt!

      Sprichst du und dein Mann/Freund perfekt deutsch? Habt ihr oder einer von euch deutsche Vorfahren, oder ist das berfuilicher Natur?
      Mein Cousin wohnt seit ca. 10 Jahren in Neuseeland, er ist in England aufgewachsen und unterrichtet nun in NZ deutsch an einer weiterführenden Schule.

      PS: Ich würde öfter gern die spanischen Kommentatoren hören, eben weil sie so emotional sind. Die Deutschen sind ein bisschen einschläfernd. Naja, irgendwie möchte man meisst das, was man nicht hat oder haben kann…

    • nzm
      July 8, 2012

      Hi Helge

      Sorry that I didn’t see this before now!

      I’m afraid that my German is not very good! I understand a lot more than I can speak or write! My spoken German is about on the level of a 3 year old kid! Luckily, my German in-laws can speak a little bit of English, so we manage!

      Seems a lot of people move to NZ. I prefer to be in Europe! I find that NZ is so expensive when we visit that I wonder how people manage to live there now!

  27. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Iniesta MotM.

    • July 1, 2012

      Yay!!! Man of the tournament too?

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      Kind of disappointed that Xavi didn’t get it – with his control of the match and the 2 assists. His stripping the ball off Pirlo for Torres’ goal was a thing of beauty.

    • Helge
      July 2, 2012

      Maybe even the best mstch from Xavi of the whole season. It was a perfect way to silence the critics; props also to Piqué who seems to be getting bsck to a more solid defensive shape.

      Oh, and Jordi Alba – he’s already the deal of the season! I love my Catalans to return home 🙂
      If there was a sort of newcomer award, it should go to either Jordi Alba or Mats Hummels. Domestically, they are not newcomers at all, but this was there international explosion, on the big stage.
      Kudos to Valencia for not asking continuously more money for Alba, because they easily could have asked for 20 mio. But even as the transfer talk was stuck, they promised to not raise the asking prize during or after the Euros.

    • Messiah10
      July 2, 2012

      I think a lot had to do with his contract only having a year off. It was a fair price for the circumstances. I’m sure they could have gotten more if they started a bidding war after the Euro’s. Your right. Fair play to them. I’m so happy to see Xavi! back. Hopefully, he gets a lot of rest before preseason starts. Tito will have to be cautious of all our players who were at Euro, except for Valdes! 🙂

  28. providence
    July 1, 2012

    la furia roja

  29. July 1, 2012

    Credit to del Bosque for building such a strong defense and uniting the squad after a brutal domestic season. Arbeloa is not great going forward but he’s a traditional RB in that he can defend. Ramos and Pique understand each other day by day. Alba has speed and really great with the ball.

    I thought the double pivot worked well in this game as well as in the first game.

    And lastly, big thanks to Pep Guardiola and Tito for introducing the false nine and to del Bosque for taking the risk to put Cesc in that role. I thought Cesc had a good tournament, understood his role and able to associate with Xavi, Iniesta and Silva a bit more.

  30. Gogah
    July 1, 2012

    when do they give out the golden ball and boot

  31. July 1, 2012

    First of all, kudos to Italy. They were brave, they came out to play, and in the first half they were really good. They were a bit unlucky to go down by two goals, and would have scored one if Casillas wasn’t so good. Unfortunately for them, they had to use their subs early and lost a player to injury. After that they didn’t have much chance of coming back into it.

    Iniesta was MOTM (and IMO man of the tournament), but this was also the first game where Xavi has really looked like himself. He had some brilliant passes, including the one to Jordi Alba for his goal. As I said on twitter, Alba has apparently already been assimilated into the Barça Hive Mind. Here is the gif: http://twitpic.com/a2soxd

    Fair dos, Casillas has been fantastic, and Ramos had an excellent tournament. When he plays for Spain he’s not nearly as thuggish (I suppose he knows he can’t get away with it) and steps up his game. He was no Puyol, but he and Pique made the best of it and did well.

    Silva scored a lovely header today, but that shouldn’t fool people into thinking he had a great game. He was the worst passer on the team (and that even includes Arbeloa, who was decent enough today) and gave the ball away way too cheaply. I really think the EPL has ruined him. I was so happy to see Pedro come on for him. Pedro did have a huge missed chance, but his passing & pressing were great.

    I feel bad for Llorente, because he is a great player, but I honestly didn’t see a place for him at this tournament. The only game I could have seen him starting was vs Portugal, and VDB chose Negredo instead. Maybe not the right choice, but in the end it didn’t make any difference. Cesc was basically the main “striker” of the tournament (although Torres won the Golden Boot LOL!), and Llorente was never going to play alongside either of them.

    Anyway, well done Spain! Congratulations!

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012


      Pedro was hugely offside for his chance, so it wouldn’t have counted. Just as well when he missed like that.

      Silva’s head didn’t so much as guide the ball into the net – Cesc’s hard shot rebounded off Silva’s head!

      Alba had a great game tonight – the first defender ever to score in a Euro final. He needs some coaching in setting the off-side trap – which he’ll get at Barca!

    • July 1, 2012

      Very good point about Alba needing work on the offsides trap. The weakest part of his game, at least in this tournament.

    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      Luckily his couple of errors in this area didn’t cost Spain as they did Germany!

    • mom4
      July 1, 2012

      I’d give Golden ball to Ini but MotM for this game to Xavi. IMO. It’s so good to see him playing more like himself again.

      Agree 100% about Silva. I’m grateful for the goals, but so many attacks died at his feet.

      Now, the status quo can be restored. I can go back to disliking RM players. Iniesta can get married and live happily ever after. Maybe he’ll celebrate this tournament the same way as the WC and we’ll get another Miniesta. Xavi can party for a few days and then rest whatever is left of his tendons. Mario can be thankful for the schooling he got today. And we can turn our thoughts to the fact that our first real game is against THEM.

  32. Xingxian
    July 1, 2012

    Congratulations to the Spanish ones out there!
    Very pleased with this result.

  33. July 1, 2012

    So, imagine a Spain –

    Puyi – Pique – Alba
    Xavi – Busi – Thiago
    — Cesc – Iniesta
    Pedro! ——- Villa


    • nzm
      July 1, 2012

      I think that Casillas is the best GK for the La Roja game. He comes out, attacks the ball and is great in the air. VV just doesn’t have those qualities in abundance when compared to Iker.

      VV can’t read the corner balls and the high balls as well as Casillas. He’s better in a one-on-one situation, but those are rare in the La Roja game.

    • July 1, 2012

      Even your imagination has tactical sense 😀

    • July 1, 2012

      Casillas is a real tournament player. He never gets nervous in the big games, which is a real advantage for the team, and in a shootout I would never bet against him. He still frustrates me because he doesn’t play the ball out from the back like Valdes would, but for the NT I have absolutely no problem with him as #1. His calmness and leadership are irreplaceable.

    • Xingxian
      July 1, 2012

      Wow. That would be pleasantly weird to watch for me.

  34. lea_terzi
    July 1, 2012

    I have to give it to Iker. He is a huge part of Spain’s success.
    A bit unfair to the opposite team, having to go through THAT midfield, confront great team defence and probably the best CB pairing in this tournament, and after all that face Casillas in goal. No wonder they break down.

    It’s a small miracle, how many goals Barca scores against him 🙂

    • July 2, 2012

      That’s because of Messi. Iker is terrified to see Messi. Also shows how Iniesta’s and Xavi’s control in the middle helps in organising the defense.

    • hansh
      July 1, 2012

      Ohh, it’s so nice to see Jordi with them all!

  35. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Interesting Stats at the bottom of this article on the match:

    Spain defend Title

    Click on the Tabs to see the complete analysis.

  36. nzm
    July 1, 2012

    Casillas became the first player to reach 100 International wins. He has also not conceded for 509 minutes which is a new GK record.

    Torres became the first ever player to score in 2 consecutive Euro finals.

  37. Ryan
    July 1, 2012

    I feel sorry for my future kids and grandchildren because I am going to talk their ears off about how I was witness to the best soccer team in history! Euro ’08 champions, World Cup ’10 champions, and now Euro ’12 champions! And they won this tournament without their best defender and striker, Puyol and Villa! Ay dios mio, que emociones!

    And how about Alba, eh? Scoring his first goal for Spain in the final!

  38. July 2, 2012

    Any idea who won the Golden Ball? Hand it please to Iniesta. Xavi was the best player of the final in terms of impact, but still for me Iniesta should be the MOTM. The amount of space he was creating for Xavi to operate was incredible.

  39. Gogah
    July 2, 2012

    Can’t remember another crop of players that dominated club and international football so consistently like these guys – hats off to them.

    I keep thinking if messi is cursing himself for not taking the offer to play for la Roja. Can you imagine the numbers and the football.
    There would have been absolutely no dispute against him being the best ever, by a distance.

    anyways, hope the boy wins something big for his country.

    as for the game yesterday, i can’t help but think that spain got a bit lucky. Chiellini is a beast, his loss so early allowed us to stroll down his flank like a park. Prandelli also got his selection wrong, Di Natale should have started.

    and Oh, Welcome to Barcelona, Jordi Alba. The bugger reminds me a lot of Dani Alves. Now we have two energiser bunnies on wither flank. It’ll be interesting to see how Tito will seek to inject some defensive stability in this team.

    • lyd
      July 2, 2012

      So you wanted Prandelli to break the starting11 that beat Germany? Thats hindsight talking!

      And remember Di Natale is 34. Had Spain not showed up in such vintage form, the game was supposed to go to extra time, where Natale would have had a greater effect.

    • Gogah
      July 2, 2012

      not hindsight lyd.
      You might think prandelli would be crazy to alter the team that beat germany. in normal circumstances, against any other top team, this might be the way to go. but this is spain we’re talking about, one with a distinct style. you HAVE to absolutely prepare the game specifically for the opponent, not stick with what appears to be a winning template. in the semis, balotelli was the difference.

  40. barca96
    July 2, 2012

    Now Football ‏@Now__Football

    Busquets has now won the Euro’s x1, World Cup x1, La Liga x3, UCL x2, Coppa DR x2, UEFA SC x2, Club World Cup x2. At the age of 23. #wow


    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      and Spanish Supacopa x3. 🙂

    • Messiah10
      July 2, 2012

      Thanks for that barca96. I was just thinking how in all of the pundits heaping praise there’s been none for Busi! Ridiculous. ESPN put up Spain’s “notable” players ages in regards to WC ’14. His name wasn’t even on there!!! Made me P.O.’d! He is quite simply irreplaceable. I’m sick of his name somehow being lost in translation. He’s won everything there is to win and done it in style. He hasn’t pulled any of the shenanigans he used to in over a season or two. It should be said that these pundits were also questioning whether Spain were “boring”. Idiots.

  41. barca96
    July 2, 2012

    Mario Balotelli: “I will invite Shakira to the final, so that she can see what I will do to her boyfriend Pique.”

    Most probably just a joke but I noticed the postman having a few words with Busquets during the match. I’m pretty sure Busi was provoking him because it always started with Busi saying something to Mario.

    I don’t understand this guy, he is skinny and all bones but yet loves to do stuffs like this. Puyol & Pique can’t always back him up.

  42. barca96
    July 2, 2012

    I’m gutted that Kanoute went to China. I’ve wanted him to come to Barca for 2 years now after the failed plan B Ibra. What is up with these African players moving to China?

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      Money? Lots of money? More money than they can make anywhere else in the latter stages of their careers? 😀

      I’d be doing it too.

      China has a surplus of US$$$s that they need to offload in some way!

    • Messiah10
      July 2, 2012

      Yeah, agree with nzm. I don’t blame players in the latter stages of their career moving to China now. They can make as much as in 2 years there as they have in 6-8 years in Europe. We’ll see how they do over there. Anelka has had some issues with his team. They named him coach and then tried to name someone else. I think culturally it could be like moving to Mars. It won’t be easy, but if they somewhat adapt, their families will be set for life.

  43. providence
    July 2, 2012

    Official: Barcelona player Andres Iniesta has been chosen
    as best player of the Euro #euro2012 #fcblive

  44. providence
    July 2, 2012

    uefa squad of euro 2012

    Goalkeepers; Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain),
    Manuel Neuer (Germany).

    Defenders: Gerard Pique (Spain), Fabio Coentrao
    (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Pepe (Portugal),
    Sergio Ramos (Spain), Jordi Alba (Spain).

    Midfielders: Daniele De Rossi (Italy), Steven Gerrard
    (England), Xavi (Spain), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Sami
    Khedira (Germany), Sergio Busquets (Spain), Mesut Ozil
    (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Xabi Alonso (Spain).

    Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain),
    Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovoic
    (Sweden), David Silva (Spain).

    • barca96
      July 2, 2012

      Haha and Cesc isn’t even a forward.

      I’m glad Busi got the recognition he deserves.

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      It’s a shame that Lahm is there over Hummels – although the latter didn’t have a good game against Italy, I still think that he performed better than his captain.

      And Ibra makes it over Bendtner who was more dangerous for Denmark? Sheesh.

  45. providence
    July 2, 2012

    Mou…or wateva cow noise u’ll make, wanted to use Madrid to revamp n reunite his so called Portugal and destroy d Uniteful spanish team but he didn’t suceed. in the end he’s d loser once again… viva espana.viva iker.viva iniesta viva alonso.viva ramos
    viva fabregas. viva silva….

  46. nzm
    July 2, 2012

    Iniesta: Player of the Tournament

    Torres: Golden Boot

    Ramos: Castrol EDGE Index Winner Ramos pipped Cristiano to win this with his performance in the final. Third was Pique. Seven Spain players are in the Top 10.

    Team of the Tournament: 10 Spanish players included – of which 6 are from Barca, 3 from RM and 1 from Man City. Could this be the first time that the Golden Boot winner is not included in the TotT?

    • July 2, 2012

      Early in the tournament when Spain weren’t looking like world-beaters, I said that Iniesta had the look of a man who was determined to drag them to the final if he had to carry them on his back. At times it did seem like he had to.

      So for me, his MVP of the tournament award is completely deserved. He was top notch from start to finish. It’s a travesty that he will never win the Ballon d’Or.

    • lyd
      July 2, 2012

      Ramos becomes the first player in history to win this uber prestigious Castroll award twice in succession.
      (Sorry Ramos..u know business is back to normal now :P)

      UEFA team of the tournament could be better. Surely Karagounis/Modric/Moutinho played better than Gerard. Or Arshavin/Djagoev/Karplyanka/Yormolenko than Ibrahimovich. No sign of Hummels either. Strange!

      Really happy for Iniesta. Once a cult hero, now a true global star, living legend. Hope he keeps playing forever.

      And Torres. Deserving award, especially for his selfless assist to Mata. More importantly, the kid had fun as he got to play some genuine football consistently after a long long time.

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      I just left a similar comment re Hummels above – and would have put in Bendtner over Ibra!

    • lyd
      July 2, 2012

      Hmmm. Bendtner is a good contender too.

      nzm, i was thinking of an allstar Euro lineup featuring non-spanish players, which is going to compete against Spain. I am willing to use Prandelli’s 352 for starters. One good thing about my team is that CR dont get to feature 🙂

    • nzm
      July 2, 2012

      Ha! Ah c’mon – are you sure you wouldn’t want the satisfaction of Cristiano being owned by quality opposition? 😀

    • lyd
      July 2, 2012

      I can use him as the 4th sub at best.

  47. nzm
    July 2, 2012

    Anyone follow Paul Radley in twitter?

    Perhaps he needs reminding just who the La Roja captain is!

  48. barca96
    July 2, 2012

    Looks like the only way to stop Spain is to host all future tournaments in Stoke in February.


    Haven’t laughed that loud in a long time. Some English man are truly funny!

    • lyd
      July 2, 2012

      Stoke jokes are still circulating, i see.

      I hope some Englishmen are now calling their “spain is boring” bandwagons boring.

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