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Euro 2012 Tournament Recap

A look back at this summer’s Euro 2012 championship in Ukraine and Poland

 

Euro 2012 Tournament Recap

Spain were crowned kings of Europe once again on Sunday July 1 as a fascinating and exciting Euro 2012 championship came to an end in Kiev after three weeks of top drawer action.

76 goals were scored over the duration of 31 matches and there was certainly a lot to please football fans across the continent this summer.

Ukraine and Poland did a fine job of hosting the tournament with eight superb venues and cities providing bustling atmospheres and excellent facilities both for the teams and supporters alike.

And thankfully, everyone could focus on matters on the pitch after rumours in the build-up suggested that crowd trouble and hooliganism could dominate the headlines – particularly in Ukraine.

But aside from a clash between Polish and Russian followers early in the tournament, everything ran extremely smoothly and the championship will have unquestionably raised the profile of both nations within the sport despite their disappointing group stage exits.

Spain’s marvellous performance and 4-0 rout of Italy in the final capped proceedings off in true style and Vicente Del Bosque’s men clearly still look the team to beat going forward to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Many other countries however still made notable contributions towards what may be regarded as the best international tournament since the turn of the century.

Indeed, Italy can be proud of their run through to the final and their display against the fancied Germans in the last four warrants a great deal of respect.

Andrea Pirlo ran the show once more after toying with England in the quarters, however Italy’s efforts took an obvious toll on them come the showpiece and the Azzurri were noticeably jaded up against the Iberians.

Consequently, Pirlo found himself nabbed at the post by Andres Iniesta in the player of the tournament stakes after being marked out of the game in Kiev – a factor which meant that Spain were able to dominate possession and control the contest.

Indeed, Spain found their semi-final clash with Portugal rather more difficult and Paulo Bento’s men brought a great deal of colour and drama to the fold.

The Portuguese had looked impressive on their run to the last four, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo who had begun to show his best form for his country.

But the Real Madrid man cut a controversial figure once more in the decisive and ultimately fatal penalty shoot-out, opting to wait until last only to find his side already beaten 4-2 and on their way home.

It was a rather low key championship for England, mainly as expectations on the Three Lions were fairly non-existent prior to the big kick-off.

Roy Hodgson’s underdogs topped Group D despite playing poorly but they were found out eventually in the last eight, a stage of elimination which is becoming fairly standard for the 1966 World Cup winners.

The competitive nature of the tournament meant that the Golden Boot was won for netting only three goals, with Fernando Torres fittingly taking the accolade via a tie-break after his disappointing domestic season.

A big success and a big three weeks, the Euros seem to be over before they barely began but it will definitely be a tournament which lives long in the memory for quite some time.