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Pique jeered in Spain win

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Del Bosque: Pique joke no issue

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Papers praise 'legendary champions'

A euphoric Spanish press hailed the national team and coach Vicente del Bosque after they became the first team to win three international tournaments in a row – with one headline simply saying: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Spain produced an imperious performance to defeat Italy 4-0 and retain the European Championship in what El Pais described as “a memorable game with the best of their style”.

El Mundo hailed Spain’s “Legendary Champions” and said the team had “changed football with their short passing style and domination of the ball in a style that everyone now wants to copy”.

As though that wasn’t enough, Spain had “won the impossible”, the Catalan daily La Vanguardia said. "La Roja completed the most successful cycle in the history of international football.”

Madrid sports paper Marca was the one delivering the effusive thanks in its headline, noting that the win had given the whole country a lift at a time of economic uncertainty.

And Sport was simply glad that the result had never really been in doubt, saying: “With less suffering than expected, Del Bosque's men achieved a second consecutive European Championship.”

In Italy’s press, there was pride, defiance and some anger. Many hailed Cesare Prandelli and his team for restoring pride in Italian football despite the heavy defeat, but one paper accused the coach of making mistakes.

Gazzetta dello Sport, which pictured a tearful Mario Balotelli on its front page, admitted Spain had been the better side but bemoaned the lack of fortune that saw the Azzurri reduced to ten men through injury.

“The game was decided in the first half. We were left with ten players by the 61st minute,” it said. “The Spaniards dominated to achieve a historic treble.” But in an editorial, it told both the players and Prandelli: “Thanks anyway.”

Corriere dello Sport, though, was unashamedly critical, headlining: “Prandelli, what have you done?” It added that Spain’s domination had been “embarrassing”.

“Spain sinks an exhausted, unrecognisable and fried Italy to preserve the title of champion of Europe,” it said. “We were in pieces, they were very strong. There was no story.”

In an editorial, the paper questioned Prandelli's decision to replace Antonio Cassano with Antonio Di Natale at half-time, saying: “Cassano was our best player on the pitch.”

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