Byline: SIMON STONE
EURO 2012 FINAL Spain 4 Italy 0 SENSATIONAL Spain trampled all over those boring jibes and marched straight into the history books with a magnificent Euro 2012 final victory over Italy in Kiev.
First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba and late efforts from substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata confirmed La Roja as the first team to record three successive major tournament victories, including a World Cup, with the biggest ever win in a European Championship final.
And they did it with the most awesome display of passing power, which made a mockery of all those who had questioned them beforehand.
It was all too much for Mario Balotelli, who marched straight down the tunnel at the end and angrily shrugged away efforts from Italian officials to get him to stay, before returning for the presentation ceremony.
Spain's Vicente del Bosque Yet the thing was, Italy were not disgraced and would have held out hopes of a comeback until Cesare Prandelli's final replacement Thiago Motta was stretchered off within four minutes of his arrival, leaving his team-mates to battle through the final half hour with 10 men.
Ultimately though, Spain's display was a fitting end to the best European Championships in almost three decades. Four players in particular, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta and Xavi deserve a special mention after starting all three finals, in Vienna, Johannesburg and now Ukraine.
But, as 'Ole' rang around this magnificent stadium, it was a night to glory in tiki-taka - and the players who put it into practice.
Throughout the tournament, the argument for Spain being a dour outfit had been building.
It dominated the pre-match press conferences and was fuelled still further by Arsene Wenger, who accused the world champions of "betrayed their philosophy" by turning their tiki-taka style into a negative.
After 15 minutes of the most majestic football imaginable, the greatest noise was the sound of all those words being rammed jubilantly down throats.
Coach Vicente del Bosque refused to bow to the demand for a regular centre-forward to be included in his starting line-up and was rewarded with a start the quality of which was on a par with anything this group of players has ever produced.
Ramos had a couple of early efforts, so too Xavi. Andres Iniesta also had a shot blocked before Spain cut their opponents' defence to shreds.
The move was astounding in its simplicity.
Alvaro Arbeloa started it, Xavi was also involved before Iniesta split the Italy defence with a pass Cesc Fabregas was able to cut-back from the by-line. …