Jony Ball - Sunday 22:44
Epilogue…. My Favourite Top 5 Euro 2012 Goals…. And not a Torres [Golden Boot winner] insight……..
Now its Goodnight………..
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:03
I Love It!!
Jony Ball - Sunday 22:02
A Final Goodnight From Me…..
A great tournament, deserved winners and legend makers……
Would just like to say thanks to Ed and Paul for letting me join in with my inane tit-bits and stats….. Hope I’ve fulfilled the United Rants Great traditions of Good will amongst All thinking football fans…….
Thanks very much Folks……………. from @JonyB007
Ed - Sunday 22:02
Here you go Jony!
Credit to somebody on Twitter… hard to work out who it’s been shared by so many people.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:59
Where’s John Terry???
So are we going to play ‘Spot John Terry’ In full Spanish kit lifting the trophy!!!
If I was a Spanish player I’d have a Hidden John Terry mask for just such a foto-Jape opportunity!!!!
Ed - Sunday 21:57
Goodnight from me
It’s be an excellent tournament, with Spain worth winners in the end. England – simply terrible. We hope you’ve enjoyed the live blog on several games during the tournament, and the series of Rant Cast Euro Cast specials.
We’ll be back next season with more United – focused live blogs, and of course the podcast will return for the new season, which starts on 18 August. In the meantime join Rant for all the usual news and analysis over the summer, including news from United’s summer tour to South Africa, China and Norway.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:54
As Roy Keane Bitch Slaps Gareth Southgate
“I’m used to losing….” – Southgate
“We Know… that’s why we’re sat here…….” – Keano
Roy Keane to Gareth Southgate….. Genius!!!!
After the comentators take a last dig at the Ukraine and its hotels. O! Boo-’Fecking’-Hoo. Crass to the last.
Spain will be Given the winners praise… and lets hope this will not be the only Blue we see crying in the 2012-13 season
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:45
Full Time Stats .[ Look Away Azzurri Eyes NOW!]
goals/Shots: 4 / 6 / 14
Passes: 510/577 [88%]
Final Third: 170/205
Shots: 0 / 4 / 11
Possession: 43.4% [despite 10men AGAINST Spain!!!]
Passes: 368/441 [83%]
Final Third: 58/101
Paul - Sunday 21:45
It’s been ace!
Now…roll on August. UNITED! UNITED! UNITED!
Ed - Sunday 21:44
Spain secure Euro 2012
A third international tournament in a row and all Spain’s dreams come true. This Spanish side has taken an awful lot of stick from the media during this tournament, but the enduring class has shone through in the end. The final scoreline of 4-0 may be harsh on Italy, but it’s hard to argue against Spain deserving this tournament. In the end Spain simply had too many high quality players for everybody else.
So now we’re done with Euro 2012 and we can say bye to tournament football for another couple of years. Back to the hurly burly of Premier League football and Manchester United! Roll on 18 August!
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:38
Rip up the record books and place the Spanish Badge there.
Three tournaments in a row.
The first time Spain have EVER score 3 or more goals WITHOUT reply against Italy in friendly or tournament football….. Going all the way back to the first game a 0-0 draw in Milan in 1924!!!!!
Torres and Matta the men to add the icing.
Paul - Sunday 21:35
It’s a rout.
As was always likely if Spain scored first, and it’s come to pass. A stunning through ball, a deft flick from Torres which took Buffon completely out of it, and Juan Mata makes it 4-0. Italy just couldn’t take their chances early in this, and once it was 2-0 at half time, it was surely all over. Spain have been majestic, demonstrating everything good about their style of play. A fitting finale to what has been a terrific tournament.
On a personal note, I’ve not enjoyed a tournament this much for a long time – and given the move to a 24 team format next time, it might be the last one with this level of quality. That it ends with history being made. And Torres has won the golden boot, which is obviously hilarious.
Ed - Sunday 21:32
Now it’s just embarrassing
Four for Spain and Italy humiliated here. Spain worthy champions once again. There’ll be dancing in the streets of Madrid tonight, etc.
Ed - Sunday 21:29
Xavi creates once again and Fernando Torres scores in another final. It’s just rubbing it in really, although given that Spain probably should have been awarded two penalties, probably a fair reflection on the second half action.
Still, the Italians have given this a really good go and deserve some credit for that.
Paul - Sunday 21:28
This is getting silly…
Nando scored. First player to score in two European Championship finals, which is an impressive statistic, especially given what’s happened to his form since the last one…
Ed - Sunday 21:27
Could Spain make it four in a row?
The World Cup in 2014 in Brazil offers Spain the opportunity to defend their trophy and make it four international tournaments in a row. The age profile of this Spain side is good, although Xavi will be well into his 30s by then.
But can a European side ever win the World Cup in South America? It’s never happened before…
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:25
Playing with your food…… Motta’s Injury just handed Spain all the Cards
As the commentator calls for Spain not to become too playful with the injured Azzurri Bird striken before them the stats show the total dominance Motta’s Injury has given these Spanish Legend Makers……
Paul - Sunday 21:24
Three major tournaments in a row. It’s a staggering, staggering achievement. It’s partly because of stunning individual talents, of course, but it’s systemic, the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Lose David Villa to injury and Torres to lack of form? No problem, just play Cesc as a false nine and win the tournament anyway. Mind blowing achievement.
Ed - Sunday 21:24
It’s been a total anti-climax since Italy was reduced to 10 men. No contest at all, although Spain’s two in the first half surely won the game and tournament anyway. Will we get one last piece of magic from somebody in the final 10?
Ed - Sunday 21:20
What a fine tournament he’s had once again. The Barca man was outstanding during the World Cup and has been so again here in Poland and Ukraine. The midfielder-cum-attacker hasn’t scored during the tournament – and boy does he deserve one – but with 15 minutes still to go there’s time.
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:13
Italy Fighting for Prandelli…..
Since half time Attacking third play shows the Azzurri in figting mood……
Ed - Sunday 21:12
Come now Mario, isn’t it about time you did something utterly mental? It’ll be a little final piece of entertainment as this game plays itself out. After all, there’s no contest on the pitch any more.
Ed - Sunday 21:07
Italy down to 10
But not from Mario Balloteli going mental (there’s still time from that) but with substitute Motta being forced off with a bad hamstring injury. Prandelli has made all three of his substitutions so they’re down to 10 men for the rest of the game.
It’s mission utterly impossible for Italy now.
Paul - Sunday 21:06
A real shame
That first half was wonderful, but it’s going to be hard for the second half to live up to it, as we’re playing out a bit of a procession. Italy down to 10 men as Motta does his hamstring after 3 subs have been made. This really would be insane if Italy get back into it…
Jony Ball - Sunday 21:05
Could we see Italy trying to do the improbable by impossibly going down to 10 men????
ALL three subs Used!!!
Ed - Sunday 21:03
This is what they’re playing for
And right now Spain has one and a half hands on this trophy.
Pedro comes on for Silva, with Spain trying to take advantage of Italy’s desperation in the final 30 minutes. It’s a sensible move, with the Barcelona man so dangerous on the break.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:57
Can Spain put this game to bed…… Or can Di Natalie inspire an epic come-back….?
the last time Spain beat Italy by 3 or more goals was in a 3-1 win in a friendly in Barcelona in 1960…….
The Last 2-2 Draw was a 2-2 friendly Result in Salerno in 1998…..
Ed - Sunday 20:57
Di Natale’s chances
Two chances in six minutes for the substitute Di Natale – first heading over from a good position, and then shooting from about 10 yards. Surely one of them had to go in for the Italians to stand a chance. Pradelli’s side is giving this a real go. The Azzuri is certainly playing well. But this is certainly set up for a third Spanish goal on the break now.
Paul - Sunday 20:55
All that talent, all that skill
And then Casillas in goal too. It’s bordering on just not fair…
Ed - Sunday 20:54
Penalty shout for Spain
Ramos heads towards goal and Spain claim a penalty as Barzagli handles. Was it intentional? Probably not – but his arm is in ‘an unnatural position’. That’s normally given so we can assume the officials just didn’t see it.
Paul - Sunday 20:50
Spain are just winners
Spain are in the middle of doing something amazing here – not only do they sit on the verge of true all-time-great status, but they’re doing it by playing their very best football of the tournament. The final in South Africa was a horrible affair, and they needed extra time to get past the evil end-of-level baddie that was that Dutch side, but here they’re managing to show the best of themselves, and to provide an entertaining spectacle to seal their legend. A team made up of fierce rivals managing to play as a wonderful team. It’s really remarkable, and I’m loving watching it.
(That said, I’d quite like it if Italy managed to pull off a miracle, but still.)
Ed - Sunday 20:49
Cassano off, Di Natale on
No tactical change from the Italians then. Can Di Natale change the pattern of play? Unlikely, but he’s a genuine finisher….
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:49
Cassano Been the most threatening with 2 shots, both on target,
De Rossi [7/9] and Ricardo Montilivo [8/8] the most attacking players
Xavi Has taken this Game by the scruff of the neck… Playing for the first time that 5-10 yds more forward and topping spains final third passes [11/13 including 1 assist]
Whilst The midfield of spain has dominated the narrow diamond of Italy…..
Italy Need to score early in the Second Half…..
Ed - Sunday 20:46
Can Italy pull this one back?
Prandelli will have to change this up now. One option may be to go with three at the back, push an extra man into midfield or bring on Di Natale, using Casano in the hole, or Ballotelli wide. Either way Italy is going to have to take a lot of chances now, opening up space for Spain to break on the counter-attack. It looks all but hopeless for the Italians, but an early goal will change everything.
Paul - Sunday 20:46
During all the pre-match coverage it crossed my mind that the searing performance he managed against Germany may well have been his peak in the tournament. It was a performance that was always going to be hard to replicate. Tournament football is a unique beast, and peaking at the right time is so crucial. In many ways, perhaps he did peak at the right time, in that he dragged his side into the final, but barring some extraordinary scenes here, it won’t be enough to win the thing.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:38
Spain proved more lethal in front of Goal and has already indicated not as wasteful in the final third with the passes….
Spain : Shots – 2/3/8 / Possession : 53.4% / Passes 234/273 [86%] Final 1/3 - 52/68 / Dribbles 4/8
Italy : Shots - 0/3/8 / Possession : 46.6% / Passes 202/241 [84%] Final 1/3 - 37/64 / Dribbles 1/4
Ed - Sunday 20:35
The Italians have given this a real go but Spain playing like champions in the first 45. Two wonderful goals from the Spanish, who are taking advantage of Italy’s decision to actually try and to match Spain at football, rather than parking the bus. The ‘boring’ label has been attached to Spain, but when they open up – and are allowed to open up – they’re still the best around.
Paul - Sunday 20:35
Wonderful half of football from Spain
The eve of history, here, as Spain look set to do something I never thought would happen in my life time. It will be beyond stunning if Italy get back into this one. Spain have been brilliant. Just brilliant.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:33
Is Jordi Alba showing LaLiga what to expect next season as he’s fed by another delightful Xavi Ball to slot in Number 2.!!
Paul - Sunday 20:29
This is incredible
I said on the podcast that I would either like Italy win, or for Spain to remind me of why I fell for them two tournaments ago. Looks like it’s the latter. Two stunning goals from Spain. That Alba run was one of the best things I’ve seen in a football match. Inspired.
Ed - Sunday 20:29
Spain two up!
And what a fantastic goal that is… a wonderful ball from the master Xavi into the breaking left-back Jordi Alba and a fine finish from the Valencia defender. Alba is almost certainly off to Barcelona this summer – it’s not a done deal just yet but when Barca comes calling almost nobody turns them down.
Ed - Sunday 20:27
This is over, isn’t it?
Spain has won the last 61 matches in which the team has scored first. Yet, Italy is giving this a real go. Spain at ‘just’ 56% possession – that’s a lot less than many expected. Italy defending well, Spain a little bit wasteful in the final third, and the long ball from Pirlo to Balloteli/Cassano is always on for the Italians.
Paul - Sunday 20:26
The Italian final ball…
Just not quite happening. They’re definitely getting passages of play which could end with clear cut chances, but they’re not quite able to make it count. So far the best team is winning this one, by playing better. Balotelli’s shot just now is the result of some frustration, having to create his own half chances rather than being provided with anything clear cut.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:25
Cassano‘s Blessed Mission…..
Despite the turmoil Italian football finds it itself in….. Again!!!
The story of Antonio Cassano’s return from such a devastating Neurological event as a Stroke at 29 yrs of age to not only play football again at the highest level in your league but to become a pivotal player for your country in their run to Euro Final is remarkable!!!
Can it be set up for him to become Italy’s saviour and ‘Bless’ his return in Fairy Story proportions…..
“I was scared. When it is a case of live or die, everything else becomes secondary.
I saw the future as grey, very grey, but fortunately I am here.
I have been blessed, and even if I am not a believer I do feel I have been blessed.”
Ed - Sunday 20:23
Spain’s wasteful passing
The Spanish are down at JUST 85% passes completed. That’s the same as Italy. Surprising from the Spanish. Nerves? Playing at a greater tempo? Italy’s marking? Perhaps a bit of all of that.
Ed - Sunday 20:19
Rightly lauded for his performances in this tournament to date, but the Juve maestro isn’t having the best game to date. The numbers look pretty good – 18/21 passes completed – but he’s been pressed well by Spain so the passes are perhaps a little safer, a little less penetration than previously.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:14
Seems to disagree with yours and the ref’s decision of deserved…..Pique entitled and no foul even when you go through the back of the player…. Ball Won…..!…. Leg Broken….??
Paul - Sunday 20:14
They’re going to have to be so clinical, because of the pattern of play and how much they will be under – they could also really do with getting one back before around 60 minutes, when they “OMG we’re playing against Spain and so now we’re exhausted” kicks in.
Ed - Sunday 20:13
Goes to Piqué for a scissor type challenge that was also late. Cassano jumps out of the way but it’s a deserved booking for the Barcelona defender. Can Balloteli put any pressure on Piqué now and reduce the Spanish numbers?
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:10
A wonderful insightful inch perfect ball from Iniesta set up the goal scoring attack leading to Italy’s defence being cut to pieces…
Ed - Sunday 20:10
Stats – 20 mins
SPA – ITA
On target: 1-0
Possession: 59% – 41%
Pass completion: 87% – 84%
Territory: 59% – 41%
Paul - Sunday 20:06
De Rossi’s bleeding.
So he’s either human after all, or a more impressive Cyborg than previously believed possible. I’m going with the latter. The long sleeve’s covering up exposed circuitry.
Ed - Sunday 20:04
He’s my ‘keeper of the tournament. So rarely makes a mistake, comfortable claiming crosses, comfortable with the ball at his feet. The complete goalkeeper.
Jony Ball - Sunday 20:03
Poor Tournament for Free Kicks
Considering the supposed freekick specialists available to teams in this tournament, Its only The Azzurri’s Own magician Andrea Pirlo that has scored direct from a free kick with his beauty against Croatia!!
Paul - Sunday 20:02
That’s not great for the neutral…
But WHAT a goal. The 4-5-1-0 working exactly as it should, stunning interplay between the front three and absolutely PERFECT delivery from Cesc. First 15 mins of this have flown by.
Ed - Sunday 20:01
David Silva arrives to head home from Cesc Fabregas’ wonderful run. That’s a storming goal, built on Spain’s excellent start in this match. At the moment Italy just can’t live with the Spanish.
Ed - Sunday 20:00
Xavi marking Pirlo
Well, not quite in a man-to-man sense but he’s certainly very close to Pirlo’s zone whenever the Italians have the ball. If the Barca man does that successfully he’ll cut off all Italy’s (limited) oxygen.
Ed - Sunday 19:58
Spain well on top already
And it’s noticeable just how quickly Spain is moving the ball. And they’re prepared to shoot too. Feels like a statement of intent from the Spainish. Xavi strikes just over the bar. Could, perhaps should, have done better with that effort.
Can Italy live with this Spanish start?
Paul - Sunday 19:57
De Rossi’s Sleeves
They’ve surely been an absolute highlight of Euro 2012. In the first game I asked on twitter why he was doing it, and was told he had a lightweight cast which needed to be in full view of the officials. The fact that every other player in the Italian side has two short sleeves makes that something of an unsatisfactory answer.
Also, the game’s good, innit?
What a goal that would have been.
Ed - Sunday 19:55
Ramos, over the bar
Spain waste the first free-kick of the match with Ramos smashing the ball high and not very handsome. It’ll be the longest a Spain player strikes or passes it all match (probably).
Spain moving the ball very well already. And the Spanish tempo already looks a bit quicker than in the semi-final against Portugal. And that’s what everyone wants, right? A more ‘attacking’ Spain…
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:52
Sorry for my tardiness ; The M6 is not my friend!!!
I suppose the biggest question for Italy is can Pirlo get enough of the ball to damage Spain and can Balotelli see enough service to stretch and harrang Ramos and Pique????
Ed - Sunday 19:52
De Rossi has one short sleeve and one long sleeve again. Perhaps it’s a superstition now!
Ed - Sunday 19:49
Away we go!
And Italy manage about 40 seconds of possession before Pirlo knocks it long. Tactical outlook? As expected, although Iniesta appears to be starting on the right, with Silva on the left.
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:47
I wonder if the Spanish press will make of that disdain as much as the English press would?
Paul - Sunday 19:47
Good evening Ed, Good evening Jony
Good evening everyone. (That’s quite enough David Pleat.)
Sticking with my 2-1 Italy prediction from the podcast, but that goes out of the window if Spain score first. So much for Italy depends on whether Balotelli and Cassano can take their chances. So much for Spain depends on adding that last third dynamism to their sumptuous keeping of the ball. The round 1 group tie between these two was my favourite game of the group stages, Italy Germany was one of my favourites from the knockout phases, so there’s hope for this one. Definitely would love to see Italy win, but my goodness it’s a tall order.
Let the tiki-taka commence!!
Jony Ball - Sunday 19:45
strangely subdued by the players has the fans belt it out….
Ed - Sunday 19:44
Belted out by the Italians…
No singing from the Spanish. An absolute disgrace. Oh wait… no words in the Spanish national anthen, but the fans hum along quite loudly.
Ed - Sunday 19:42
Spain 1-0 Italy
Ed - Sunday 19:39
The Dressing Rooms
No sign of Mario Balloteli’s silk panties anywhere…
Ed - Sunday 19:08
I’m sure Mario Balotelli isn’t really having a pre-match pint with fans….
Ed - Sunday 19:01
Some tournament stats from UEFA. Interesting? You decide…
Ed - Sunday 18:57
Vincente Del Bosque:
“We’ve worked very hard for many years and we’d like victory to crown that work. We cannot look back. Italy have won the World Cup four times; we won EURO four years ago. There’s some history but we have to look to the present. We’ve played similar tournaments: we were in the same group and have both won on penalties. Our style of play is also very similar so there’s not a great difference between the teams.
“Italy have changed; they started well against us and kept improving so they’re worthy rivals for the final. There’s been a huge change in Italian football in recent years and they will play as they have for the past few matches. If any team had played like them, they would be in the final too; they have deserved it.”
“I really hope we can be positive and take the game to them. Spain’s strength is not only possession, but also the way they win it back. We’ve got to pick our moments and work a numerical superiority in certain areas. We don’t expect to be in charge from the first minute to the last, but we know we can play our own football when the opportunity arises. Even in qualifying we tried to play using the strengths of our players. We’ve risked a little in this approach as it’s a difficult route to take, but we need to continue down the same path because it will eventually bear fruit.
“I expect the usual Spain: a brave side that keeps the ball but also presses you. They’ve conceded the fewest goals in the tournament and, even when they don’t play with a striker, can always create space. Over the last few years, Spain always seem to come out on top. They’ve shown they’re the best team in the world, played their own way and stayed true to their philosophy. We’ve always said they’re the team to beat.”
Ed - Sunday 18:34
Spain (4-3-2-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Alonso; Iniesta, Silva; Fabregas
Italy (4-4-2): Buffon; Abate, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo; Balotelli, Cassano
Ed - Sunday 18:18
Three weeks, 30 games, 74 goals and hours of entertainment later and Euro 2012 draws to a close with what should prove to be a classic final. While Spain remained many pundits’ narrow favourites for the tournament before it kicked off in Warsaw on 8 June, few predicted Italy would, or could, make it this far. Along the way Italy has won friends, and Andrea Pirlo many new admirers, while Spain has taken the brunt of a media and supporter backlash against the perceived tedium of the tiki-taka style.
The tactical, technical and individual player battles should all make for a fascinating contest: can Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso enjoy so much possession versus Italy’s diamond? Will Andreas Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva provide the attacking penetration lacking against Portugal in the semi-final? Will Spain be caught out by Pirlo’s ‘long pass’ through the middle that caught out both England and Germany in previous rounds?
The Spanish start the game favourites to secure a third international tournament in a row; a feat no team has achieved previously. But Italy surprised many with a tactical system and commitment against Spain in Group C that ensures this will be no one-sided contest.
Yet, the game’s pattern is surely pre-determined: Spain’s possession, versus Italy’s patience in defence, and ability to spring forward on the break. And coach Vincente Del Bosque’s likely decision to field Fabregas as a ‘false nine’ will cement this pattern, ensuring Spain sacrifice some penetration for ball retention. The question, of course, is whether Spain can create more chances with 65 per cent possession, than Italy will with the remainder. It is not an obvious puzzle to solve.
Indeed, the criticism of Spain throughout this tournament that possession is too often negative – a defensive tactic, more than an attacking one – will be tested should the Spanish score first, enabling Del Bosque’s team to suffocate the opposition. Meanwhile, if Italy make the opening break-through can Cesare Prendelli’s men survive the onslaught from am armada of potential attacking substitutes: Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navis, Pedro, and, if all else fails, maybe even Fernando Llorente.
It is this strength in depth that ensures Spain start favourites. But only narrow ones at that.
Join United Rant for live chat, analysis, comment and hair style critique through the pre-match build-up and during the match!