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Euro 2012 paper review: Spain hails its ‘greatest ever generation’

July 2, 2012

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There is praise at home and across Europe for Vicente del Bosque’s side after their history-making victory over Italy

How do you congratulate the team that has won everything? As far as Marca is concerned, the best way is to keep the message simple: “Gracias, graci as, gracias” reads the newspaper’s headline above a picture of Spain’s victorious Euro 2012 champions. Three cheers for the first international team to win three international tournaments in succession.

The story itself contains a more detailed appreciation of Spain’s achievement yesterday, with the paper speaking of a “single generation bringing about a radical change for the good of the game,” starting with their 2-0 victory against Germany in the final of Euro 2008 and carried through to the last World Cup and then to the 4-0 humbling of Italy in Kiev.

That theme is also picked up by Mundo Deportivo, which describes the victory over Cesare Prandelli’s side as an “exhibition” and the “tremendous success of the best Spanish generation in history.” Somewhat cheekily, the Barcelona-based newspaper also describes the win as having been “made in Barça,” and Andres Iniesta as the final’s “MVP.”

Back to Marca and there is a reflection on the touching tribute Sp ain’s players paid to Miquel Roque, the former Real Betis, Xerex, Liverpool and Spain Under-19 defender who died from cancer, aged just 23, at the end of last month. A number of Spanish player, most notably José Reina, wore shirts in tribute to Roque following the win against Italy. “The most beautiful dedication” – said Marca.

Not surprisingly, the mood in the Italian press following last night’s game is rather glum. “The fairytale became a nightmare for the Azzurri,” is how Gazetta dello Sport describes the crushing defeat for Prandelli’s men. “The best team won, as usually happens in sport, but Italy also messed up. There will be regrets at not having seen the best of the team that had excited everybody. Their main regret on the field will be [Antonio] Di Natale’s miss at the start of the second-half when they were 2-0 down.”

There is, however, an appreciation of Spain’s superiority over the men in blue: “We have been direct witlessness of somethin g legendary,” says Corriere della sera, “and it’s at least comforting to say Spain have rewritten history of football.”

Gazetta also pays tribute to Prandelli for getting a side which bombed so spectacularly at the last World Cup to the final of this tournament: “What Prandelli has achieved since the disastrous World Cup in South Africa must not be forgotten. This Italian team deserves applause for its expressive and complex play.”

Elsewhere, there is also appreciation for the achievement of Vicente del Bosque’s side. “Congratulations Spain” reads the headline in Bild, whose website also carries a large picture of Mario Balotelli crying after the final whistle. Revenge for the manner in which he helped defeat Germany in the semi-finals, perhaps?

And the final word should go to Portugal’s Público for its simple, spot-on summing up of Spain’s triumph: “More convincing, impossible.” Read More

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