La Furia Roja

Last comments on 2012 European Championships

by Lee Hugh McGowan


Spain 4 -0 Italy

Great final. Exhibition football from Spain, Italy played well too, but no team on earth can compete with the Spanish when they are on the form they displayed in the game that clinched their third international title in a row.

Four good goals from four different players in four distinctly different positions highlight the breadth and depth of their quality. It was awe-inspiring. The score might suggest a walkover. It was not. Italy could have had a bag of goals. First minute in the second half, 2-0 down, they almost snatched one. They had some good spells throughout and should feel no shame. The Spanish played tenaciously, skillfully and characteristically possessively. On losing the ball they reclaimed it quickly, their passing game and ball control is sublime.

It was funny listening to Clever Andy Cole and Gaz McAllister, looking erudite in comparison, berating other pundits for accusing the Spanish for being boring, as if one glorious performance had wiped their short-term memories of a stultifying semi-final, of the strike-rless grit and drudgery they’d offered in earlier rounds. It’s the team-sized version of their view on Ronaldo and a lesson for the future. Play beautifully, even if it’s just once, and everything else will be forgiven. Iniesta (who was consistently excellent) pipped my pick Pirlo to player of the tournament – only because the Spanish midfield denied Andrea any opportunity to get beyond his own half in the final. As a result of their victory, but probably more because they literally are the best team in the World, Spain are favourites for the 2014 World Cup, but hey, the ball is round.

Dennis has captured a cracking line up of the best and worst of the games and the players here. It was a great tournament. I’m looking forward to couple of nights of decent sleep.

Thank you for reading.



  1. Muchas Gracias, Senor Shaun.
    You remind me of my favourite soccer anecdote from the 70’s, when (apocryphally) the sum total of the Scottish managers pre game tactical advice for a game against Sweden was ‘look out for the the big blond bloke in the middle’. Ah, they were simpler times.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful and entertaining summaries. Kept me looking knowledgeable at the coffee machine, without ever seeing a ball kicked (its round you know). Cheers.

  2. Thanks Peter. Good to know the coffee machine conversations were about the beautiful game!

  3. Dennis Gedling says

    So actually talking to the Coffee machine? Great stuff. Seeing Andy Cole again has been great. It reminds you about how easy it was to laugh at his international career. Football365 put up a register on their website for anyone to announce their international retirement when Cole spat it and announced he wouldn’t play again after another poor performance for England years ago. He’s a strange fellow.

  4. John Harms says

    Thanks Lee. Very entertaining across the three weeks plus. And I will always remember: the ball is round.

  5. Rick Kane says

    Thank you Mr McGowan for an excellent summary of the highs and lows (I’m talking to you Oranje) of a fabulous few weeks. I only caught the final last night and, wow, what a game. You’re right, even though I knew the score, I was still expecting Italy to take the game by the scruff of the neck early in the second half only to see the Spaniards again take control of the ball and await their opportunity. It is, without reservation, the beautiful game as Spain amply and simply showed.


  6. Dennis, Clever Andy Cole is only strange because he thinks he’s awesome and he’s really not that clever. It’s an enigmatic and less than intriguing combination.

    John, that’s right. Anything can happen.

    Rick, I hope your beloved Oranje can rebuild and become firends again. There’s too much in that team to let it go to waste.

    Thank you all. It’s been a blast.

  7. Mathilde says

    On the French side of my Southern hemisphere upbringing, football nights give way to … ‘Le Tour’. The Frenchman so often cranky from sleeplessness.

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