Euro 2012 live

Euro 2012 live

IT Sun, Jul 1

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  • This event has now ended
  • 18:49
  • 18:50

    It’s final time - the big one between the big two.  


    Spain, World and European champions, take on four-time world champions Italy. That’s two of the three sides that schooled Ireland in the group stages meeting in Kiev tonight, in around an hour’s time.

  • 18:57

    Carl O'Malley here providing text-based accompaniment to the the 31st game of Euro 2012. Do offer your opinions, if you have any, via the comment box below or via Twitter (@carlomalley). Keep them clean and complimentary, I'm a bit of a prude and very sensitive. I also like long walks, romantic novels and crisp autumn evenings.

  • 19:00

    Spain, so good they are boring, apparently, are seeking a record-breaking treble of consecutive major titles.

    Italy seek something else – redemption, perhaps, after a scandal-filled preparation prompted some to write them off, while striker Mario Balotelli, it seems, can write a new chapter in the country’s social evolution by copper-fastening his place as the new darling of the Azzurri after his two-goal execution of Germany in the semi-final.

    Balotelli and Spain, in fact, find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

  • 19:01

    The defending champions have had us cooing with admiration for years, but are now facing a bit of popularity crisis, with increasingly vocal opposition to their endless possession games but lack of cutting edge gaining momentum every day.

  • 19:03
    Joey7Barton via Twitter Hope Italy win tonight. Had enough of the Spanish and everyone banging on about how good they are. #forzaitalia
  • 19:03

    Balotelli, on the other hand, has been ridiculed for years at home and abroad as a problem-child of unquestionable talent but dubious character.


    Earlier this week Gazetto dello Sport published a tasteless cartoon of him as King Kong flailing at footballs. This came days before the same paper hailed him as the “Pride of Italy”.

  • 19:04
  • 19:04

    Another performance like the one in Warsaw earlier this week, and one feels Balotelli may indeed, if he hasn’t already, break new ground for himself and other Italian black players, who have struggled to be accepted in their own country.


    If Spain, however, produce what they have thus far in the knockout stages the response might not be as positive. Undoubtedly the most complete team in the tournament and one capable of sublime mastery of the game, they still have questions to answer after underwhelming slightly in this tournament.

  • 19:05

    Starting without a striker, as they have in two of their five games thus far and as they do so again tonight, has left them slightly toothless up front but the stats would suggest there has been a steady regression since Euro 2008 in the amount of times they actually seek to score.

    The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor pointed out today that Spain have made 58 passes for every shot in those five games, up from 44 at World Cup 2010 and 33 at Euro 2008 when this generation claimed its first title in such style.

    While that does not prove accusations that they are boring, by Spanish standards it does at least suggest they are procrastinating a little too much.

  • 19:13

    Here are the teams.

    No recognised striker for Spain, while Italy have resisted the temptation to revert to the three-man defence that served them so well against Spain in their opening 1-1 draw in Gdansk three weeks ago.

  • 19:35

    Alan Hansen has turned into Eamon Dunphy on BBC, pontificating on the difference between good players and great players. Balotelli is not the latter, he says, unless he scores a hat-trick tonight and ten hat-tricks in the Premier League next year.


  • 19:39
    carlomalley via Twitter RT @rice_e: Nice that the final will this year be decided by interperative dance #euro2012
  • 19:43

    Opening/closing ceremonies should be banned. Just because something is noisy and colourful doesn't make it right. Jimmy Saville, Timmy Mallett to name but two examples

  • 19:45
    Two anthems out of the way. Some dodgy renditions there. Not sure if Pirlo would be as comfortable at La Scala as he is directing operations in the middle of the pitch.
  • 19:47
    The goalkeepers are the captains. An unusual sight at the coin toss. "Must be unique" says Ray Houghton. Quite a height difference between the two, Buffon towering over Casillas
  • 19:47
    And we're off.
  • 19:49
    Balotelli wins a free of Sergio Ramos with his first touch. Nothing comes from the free but Italy have possession up field after Cassano won a throw. The Italian sets up Pirlo for a strike at goal but the midfielder skews his shot well wide.
  • 19:52

    Spain getting no time on the ball from Italy but they still managed to battle their way up field before a timely tackle from Marchisio in the box.

    Cassano seeks Balotelli but Ramos rises to the challenge.  A bright start from Italy.

  • 19:52
    Five minutes gone
  • 19:53
    David Villa and Carles Puyol look on from the crowd as Ramos turns his hand to attacking but his free kick sails over the bar.
  • 19:54
    Guest Hello from Ballyduff! S
  • 19:55
    Hell from Tara St.

    Jordi Alba shows why he's just signed for Barca with another rampaging run. Chiellini concedes the corner and Ramos, again, heads over the bar. Spain beginning to find a rhythm now
  • 19:58
    Xavi and Iniesta both see shots blocked by desperate Italian blocks but Fabregas and Xavi combine for the latter to strike over from 18 yards.

    "Should have scored from there", says Houghton.  He's a hard taskmaster, is Ray.
  • 19:59

    11 minutes gone now and its been an 11 minutes of two halves.

  • 20:01
    What a goal, SPAIN LEAD through Silva.
  • 20:02
    Iniesta slides a ball in behind Chiellini for Fabregas and the Barca midfielder takes an extra touch to the line before firing it on David Silva's head and the Man City man directs the header into the roof of the net with Buffon in no man's land.
  • 20:03
    At the other end Pirlo strikes a free off the wall and Italy have a corner
  • 20:04
    Casillas just gets his fingertips to it to take it out of De Rossi's path.
  • 20:06
    Good repsonse from Italy with a succesion of corners and Casillas is again forced into action, this time with a punch. Great balls from Pirlo. Italy could get some joy down this route.
  • 20:06
    Into the 19th minute now. Spain lead 1-0
  • 20:08

    Iniesta jinks his way into the Italian box but Pirlo puts in a good tackle. Chiellini is down and out. Balzaretti is on for the left-back.

  • 20:09
    This is shaping up to be a great final. Furious pace to it, Italy have come out fighting after the goal but they do look stretched when Spain attack in numbers. As you do, really.
  • 20:13
    25 min:  Fabregas and Iniesta break but the former's ball is clips the heal of the latter as he looks to sneak behind the Italian cover.

    Pique booked for a reckless tackle on Cassano.
  • 20:14
    Spain are looking very dangerous in the final third and Italy being forced into scramble defence mode every time they are knocking around the box.

    At the other end, however, Casillas again intervenes to take a cross off the head of an Italian, this time Balotelli.
  • 20:15
    GuillemBalague via Twitter too many balls lost by Spain. Time to get boring for a bit
  • 20:17
    Cassano breaks down the left but perhaps chooses the wrong option with the shot that is saved by Casillas when Balotelli was screaming for it in a better position.  Cassano's been one of the unsung heroes in this tournament though. He has been excellent up front, very unselfish for the most part.
  • 20:18
    101greatgoals via Twitter Gif: Cesc Fabregas crosses, David Silva heads home (Spain) v Italy
  • 20:20
    Balzaretti has given Italy an attacking option on the left handside since he's come on. Houghton called that and he was spot on.

    Ye gods! Cassano goes close with a long range rocket but Casillas gets a strong hand on it and Abate is closed down.
  • 20:22
    Spain toying with the Italian defence at times but a blue shirt always seems to get in the way at the crucial time. 35 minutes gone
  • 20:24

    The Italians, including Pirlo, are nowhere near as comfortable getting the ball in tight spaces and are handing over possession dangerously close to their own goal too often.

  • 20:27
    MirrorFootball via Twitter And the award for the two most idiotic Italy fans tonight goes to...
  • 20:28
    Balzaretti and Balotelli linking up well at times.

    Oh what a beautiful goal, Spain lead 2-0 now.
  • 20:29

    Jordi Alba's first goal for his country comes after a blistering run from deep and precise pass from Xavi. The defender collects it, barely breaking his stride and fires it past Buffon.

  • 20:31
    Thatt's going to be a tough one for Italy to recover from and one feels Spain might be answering the critics tonight.

    But wait! Montilivo tests Casillas but the keeper punches it away. As Ray Houghton says, they need to start aiming either side of Casillas.
  • 20:33
    carlomalley via Twitter RT @Johnod147: @carlomalley Mark Lawrenson seems in foul humour on the BBC?
  • 20:33

    Not sure John, watching RTE here. Will switch over to the BEEB for the second half maybe.

  • 20:34
    That's the break. Back in a tick
  • 20:42
    We're over to the BEEB now and it's goal of the tournament.

    Could well be Alba's from tonight.
  • 20:43
    Andy Carroll included in it. Great header but not a contender.
  • 20:44
    Oooooh, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic's is.
  • 20:45

    The panel thinks Ibra, as well, though Gianluca Vialli puts in a shout for Carroll. Sucking up to his hosts, me thinks.

  • 20:48
    Vialli comapring Pirlo to Beethoven "writing a symphony but not tonight"

    The Italian is getting smothered by Spaniards when on the ball. Has rarely got his head up for long enough to pick a pass.
  • 20:49
    They're back on the pitch and Antonio Di Natale has come on for Cassano to add more of a goal threat.
  • 20:50

    And the striker goes very close with his first touch, a header over the bar with Pique caught napping.

  • 20:52
    Fabregas shoots narrowly wide. Buffon "a little bit leaden-footed" says Lawro.

    Cesc nips into the box and turns De Rossi but Abate gets a great tackle/clearance in.
  • 20:54
    Free in for Spain and they claim handball after Ramos's diving header. It did strike Bonucci's arm but not sure he knew much about it.
  • 20:55
    Di Natale goes close after Montolivo's pass but Casillas is again on hand to stop it. He's had a great game so far. Dealt with everything
  • 20:56
    carlomalley via Twitter RT @hicksimon: Italy playing really well, when is last time both sides showed such class in a major final.
  • 20:57
    He's right, y'know
  • 20:59
    56 min: Pirlo almost picks out Di Natale over the top but it's too long. End to end stuff here.

    Montolivo is coming off for Thaigo Motta.
  • 21:01

    That's all Italy's subs used now.

    Di Natale is clipped by Ramos. Free in Italy, Pirlo

  • 21:02
    Another fingertip to safety from Casillas, a big reason why Spain have not conceded a knockout goal for nine games.

    Sivla coming off now and he doesn't like it. Pedro is his replacement.
  • 21:04
    Little dig from Lawro towards Trapattoni there, but like most of his smart quips, it's not entirely clear what he means.
  • 21:05
    Trouble here for Italy as Motta requires a stretcher. They have no replacements and Motta ain't coming back. He's carted off straight down the tunnel.
  • 21:06
    28 minutes to go now and Italy have to do it with 10 men
  • 21:07
    Balotelli wins a free, somehow. He just seemed to fall over when surrounded. Keep that up and they might have some hope.
  • 21:08
    Bonucci claims a penalty but the free goes against him. Thought he had more of case, there, but they rarely get given, even by the worst referee in the tournament.
  • 21:10
    Fabregas has had a great game, a fitting riposte to those who furrowed their brows at his inclusion as the most advanced Spanish player. Yes, I have been one of them.
  • 21:11
    carlomalley via Twitter RT @davinodwyer: Taking off Montolivo for Motta was a weird choice in the 1st place, now it looks calamitous! Motta is an injury waiting ...
  • 21:13
    It's a procession now, unfortunately. Whatever chance Italy had with 11 men, it disappeared when Motta left the field.

    Balzaretti gets a toe on a cross from Pedro to Fabregas. That was important because it was almost certainly three.
  • 21:14
    101greatgoals via Twitter A superb goal, 2-0: Jordi Alba (Spain) v Italy
  • 21:17
    Larwo lays down the law for Guy Mowbray (I think). "No he's (Di Natale) offside. You can't 'just' be offside, you are or you aren't'.

    Bonucci shows a cool head to nod back to Buffon under pressure. Fabregas and Iniesta having picked apart the defence again.
  • 21:19
    That's the last of the action for Fabregas, Torres is ready to come on.  That would mean no action in the tournament for Fernando Llorente or Juan Mata. Send them our way, even Trap could find a place for them.
  • 21:22
    12 minutes to go.

    It's been a slow death for the Italians, a triumphant return to form for Spain
  • 21:23

    Pedro shoots wide but is offside anyhow after another thundering run and coss from Alba gave Iniesta an option.

  • 21:25
    No joy for Torres out there yet. You'd think even he could get in on the act at this stage. Possession stats say 50-50, amazingly.
  • 21:27
    7 minutes to go.

    The BBC pair think Italy shold go hell for leather. Eh, they would if they could.

  • 21:29
    Three for Spain, one for Torres.

    Italy robbed high up the pitch and the ball through to Torres is precise as the Chelsea striker slides it past Buffon into the far corner. Perfect finish.

    He becomes the first man to score in two European Championship finals.
  • 21:29
    Oh, I spoke too soon. Mata is on his way into the fray, in place of Iniesta.
  • 21:30
    He'll get four minutes, at least.
  • 21:32
    And that's all he needed! The boy Mata has only gone and scored.
  • 21:34
    Another defence spliting pass, this time from Xavi, finds Torres and he cuts it back inside for Mata to finish into an empty net after Buffon again went chasing the ball early
  • 21:34
    Three minutes added time
  • 21:36
    This must be agonising for Italy.

    Lawro melting with self satisfaction after it is confirmed Torres, his bet, will get the Golden Boot thanks to playing few minutes then the others with three goals.
  • 21:39
    That's a wrap. Three in a row for Spain. Their players dive into a celebratory huddle as Balotelli storms of the pitch. Can't have been easy playing in that game, the first ever four-goal win in any international final
  • 21:39
    "This final has proven we are not there yet," says Vialli. Spain have shown "how truly magnificent they are."
  • 21:48
    Nice to see, for once, a guard of honour made by Spain for the Italian side. Buffon and co are warmly applauded by the champions and the gesture is similarly received.
  • 22:44
    101greatgoals via Twitter Every single Euro 2012 goal on one video
  • 22:57
    Here's a match report. More from Kiev shortly.
  • 22:59
    andresiniesta8 via Twitter Great! This is amazing! This is for everybody, you deserve it!