It’s not a quote-on-quote three-peat for the Spanish National Team, but their Euro 2012 victory over Italy on Sunday gave them their third consecutive major championship in a row. Sunday’s win goes hand in hand with their 2008 Euro and 2010 World Cup triumphs as the Iberians bombarded and bitch-smacked a talented but overwhelmed Italian side.
Through goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, the Spanish conducted 90-yard death marches up Kiev’s Olympic Stadium throughout the match. Although their attack opened up their defense to a few worthwhile Italian opportunities, it allowed their fluid style of play to flourish. Watching the Spanish whole, engineered by midfield virtuosos Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta, was akin to seeing Picasso put brush to canvas during his Pink Period or Gaudí construct La Segrada Família.
This third championship puts the Spanish in its own category. It is the only national squad to win three such competitions in a row and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to label them as one of the all-time best dynasties in sports. Their feats belong in the same breadth as Russell’s Celtics, Brady’s Patriots and the Liverpool squads of the 1980s. They have perfected the art of soccer, and there’s no sign that they’ll be slowing down any time soon.*
But really though: watch Jordi Alba’s goal at the 24-second mark below. Nevermind the fact that this was his first senior team tally, glimpse at how Alba splits the Italian defense’s seams with the assistance of Xavi’s perfectly weighted ball.
That’s why they call it the “beautiful game.”
* – Their youth teams are also the current champions of the U-19 and U-21 European Championships.