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MADRID, 1 Jul. (EUROPA PRESS) –

Exactly 10 years ago, the Spanish team lifted its third European Championship, completing the perfect triangle, by becoming the first and only team to consecutively win the 2008 and 2012 European titles and the 2010 World Cup, a glorious era led by a generation that He amazed the entire world of football with his own recognizable style for a decade and a half.

On July 1, 2012, Spain, with Vicente del Bosque on the bench, wrote an eternal and historic night in golden letters. “The perfect final”, is how Andrés Iniesta defined the match against Italy in kyiv for the European crown. The team beat the transalpine team 4-0, the biggest win in a European Championship final, in a football display that will be remembered by the entire country, to put the finishing touch to the most successful cycle of Spanish football at the national team level.

In a selection that anyone could recite with their eyes closed, David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata were the architects of a milestone that no one had achieved until then and that no team has been able to match since that day. The final in kyiv was the confirmation of a model based on the ball, with its origin in Luis Aragonés’ shorties, European champions in 2008.

And it is that Spain, despite notable absences such as those of David Villa and Carles Puyol, arrived at the tournament that hosted Poland and Ukraine as the great favorite, after throwing the door in Austria four years earlier facing all their complexes and touching the sky in the historic World Cup in South Africa embroidering the first star for ‘La Roja’. A very high bar that statistics and history did not help to overcome, but that the football and talent of a dream team insisted on exceeding.

Their start to the tournament was not the desired one, as they drew with Italy on their debut, but the team recovered, clearly beating Ireland and struggling to win against Croatia. The quarter-final matchup, now free from complexes of the past, was against France, and the Spaniards had a great job crowned by Xabi Alonso’s brace.

In the semifinals, an Iberian duel against Portugal, which longed for revenge for the elimination of South Africa, and which was practically the only one that deactivated the ‘Red’. This knew how to suffer to seek its luck in a penalty shootout again happy, with the remembered penalty to the ‘Panenka’ of Sergio Ramos, who weeks before had sent beyond the clouds a decisive one against Bayern in the semifinals of the Champions .

It remained to finish off the task in the reunion against an Italy that felt capable of taking the current world and European champion on a first-name basis, but that could not even be a threat like in the premiere. In the decisive game, Spain was a true gale, bordering on perfection in the first 20 minutes of the match.

With the figure of the false ‘9’ reincarnated in Cesc Fábregas and with the mature Silva, Xavi and Iniesta combining at will, the team dismantled the Italians, who saw how at half-time they were already losing 2-0 with goals from Jordi Alba and the canary. Mata and Torres rounded off the exquisite final to make it 4-0.

FROM HEGEMONY TO DUSK

This tournament meant the confirmation of a generation, which began to develop that competitive gene in the 2008 EURO that ended up winning, the first title for Spain in 44 years. Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fábregas, Silva, Iniesta and Fernando Torres were already there. At that time they were still young footballers who surprised an entire continent, but in 2012 they emerged as the most successful promotion in Spanish football.

Fourteen years of reigning in national team football with a triple crown that no other team can boast of. That final in kyiv consecrated Spain as the best team in the world at the time, reaching the footballing climax in the final in kyiv, although with the great unknown of whether it could be extended even further in time.

But in football everything is cyclical, and that of the Spanish team came to an end after more than a decade. After more than fulfilling its role as top favorite in 2012, Spain suffered in its own flesh the fall of its entire empire in the World Cup in Brazil.

With Del Bosque on the bench, the coach opted to keep the old guard for the World Cup – Piqué, Casillas, Xavi, Iniesta, Fábregas, Cazorla, Mata, Villa, Torres, among others. But their adventure ended prematurely in the group stage, after falling resoundingly to the Netherlands (1-5) and Chile (0-2) and hitting rock bottom.

Thus, EURO 2012 was the beginning of the end of a glorious and insatiable era that conquered Europe and the world thanks to a football that seduced fans from all over the globe thanks to its own identity. Since then, more shadows than lights in big tournaments, without the security and guarantee that there would be a generational change of level. Now with Luis Enrique leading a team with Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati and company and after reaching the semifinals of Euro 2020, the light is beginning to be seen at the end of the tunnel.