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Viva Espana: Spain Dominates Italy to Win the 2012 European Championships

With their 4-0 win over Italy, Spain became the first time in the history of the European Championships to repeat as winners. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Sometime in the mid 2000s, the programming brass at ESPN became determined to turn the world’s most popular sport into a ratings bonanza.  I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t even know the European Championships existed until four years ago.  Just check any social media site, and you’d think Euro 2012 was the Super Bowl.

It was the 2008 European Championships that Spain began its emergence as the most dominant national soccer team in the world.  In a grueling final, the Spaniards knocked off Germany 1-0.

Two years later, Spain captured its first World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.  Today, the Spaniards became the first team to repeat as European champions.  The coronation was largely ceremonial, as Spain took a 2-0 lead to halftime.  Two goals later and Spain had a dominant 4-0 victory over a gritty but overmatched Italian squad.

Even the crustiest of Americans, those who would rather watch grass grow than a soccer match, have to appreciate the Spanish domination of national competition.  Their current squad could be the best collection of talent since Pele and the Brazilians dominated the game from the late 50s until the early 70s.

The Spanish team plays the game with an incredible amount of artistry.  When everything is clicking, it doesn’t seem like another national team on the planet can stay within two goals of them.  As long as this group can stay healthy, 2014 should be a lot of fun.

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