Euro 2012 daily digest: Spain too hot to handle
Like all good things, Euro 2012 had to come to an end, and with Spain's passing masterclass, we were treated to a fitting climax to what has been an exceptional tournament.
Elsewhere, England's penalty loss to Italy continues to inflict pain, as Michael McIntyre injures himself during a recreation of Joe Hart's penalty antics.
And as these Championships draw to a close, Michel Platini reveals how he wants to radically reshape the tournament, with hosting duties possibly being shared by up to 32 cities come the 2020 edition.
Not too Xavi, Spain make history
Spain cruised to victory in the 2012 European Championships final, winning 4-0 and demolishing a 10-man Italy in the second half, with the World Champion’s victory a historic landmark in the world of football.
The victory marks the first time an international side has won three major international tournaments back to back, with the Spanish side winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and now, of course, Euro 2012.
Spain’s key to success has been a phenomenal run of form in European Championship knockout football, which now spans over 500 minutes without conceding a goal, last night’s final being the team’s sixth consecutive shutout victory in knockout games.
The landmark victory is also a record for most goals scored in a Euro final, the previous record being held by West Germany who beat the USSR 3-0 in 1972.
Chelsea forward and super sub Fernando Torres also marked the occasion by becoming the first player to score in two different European Championships finals, having scored the winning goal in his side’s 2008 victory against Germany.
Spain will head into World Cup 2014 qualification in Group I which includes France, Belarus, Georgia and Finland where they will hope to qualify and then further add to their already record-breaking streak of international tournament wins.
McIntyre suffers injury mimicking Hart
Comedian Michael McIntyre’s latest live show ended with the funny man on crutches following an energetic routine which saw him mimic Joe Hart’s penalty shootout intimidation tactics.
McIntyre was parodying Hart’s technique of waving his arms and shouting at the Italian players during England’s quarter-final defeat.
However, his act did not go to plan, with the comedian injuring his thigh, hobbling off stage and calling an early interval in his show at the Cork Opera House.
McIntyre soon returned on crutches, but was forced to continue the rest of the gig sitting down. This did not dampen his spirits though, McIntyre telling the audience: “You’re all entitled to your money back. This is not the show you paid for – unless you enjoy casualty waiting rooms.”
Mary Hickson, Opera House CEO said: “Michael is a trooper and braved the pain he was clearly suffering during the second act.”
Platini reveals plans for 2020 Euros
President of UEFA Michel Platini has suggested radical plans for the 2020 European Championships, which he has revealed could be spread across up to 32 European cities.
The next European Championships in 2016 will be hosted by France, but Platini is eager to press ahead with a radical new format for the Championships.
The Euros are usually hosted by a single nation or shared by two, like this summer’s, which was held in Poland and Ukraine.
This traditional approach was set to continue, with Turkey favourites to host the 2020 event, but a bid to host the Olympic Games in Istanbul has cast doubt over the nation’s chances.
Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland have expressed an interest in hosting the 2020 Euros, the three nations hoping to share the duty of hosting the tournament.
A decision is set to made by UEFA early next year and Platini is keen to explore all the possibilities available before that time. Platini said: “The Euros in 2020 could be held all over Europe, we are just thinking about it. I have said 12 or 13 host cities, it could be 24 or 32.
“This matter will be discussed very seriously, we will have a great debate about 2020 and discuss the pros and cons. It’s an idea I feel really passionate about, it will be a lot easier from a financial perspective.”
By Sam Fry