EURO 2012

Del Bosque salutes Spain achievement

Vicente del Bosque says Spain's record-breaking achievement is "extraordinary".
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Spain coach Vicente del Bosque labelled his side's record-breaking performance in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev as "extraordinary".

La Roja became the first international side to win three successive major tournaments thanks to their 4-0 win over Italy, the biggest final win in European Championship history.

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put Spain in control.

And once Thiago Motta had gone off with a hamstring injury just four minutes after his introduction, Italy were forced to play the final half hour with 10 men.

That allowed Spain to really rub it in as Fernando Torres added a third before setting up Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata to wrap up an incredible win.

"It's true we were lucky enough to play a great match," said Del Bosque.

"Everything worked for us.

"It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent."

The manner of the triumph was the perfect answer to a growing number of critics, who have labelled Spain boring.

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Arsene Wenger joined that band with some particularly pointed comments earlier on Sunday.

Wenger was present in Kiev in his role as a pundit for French TV and could not fail to be impressed.

Del Bosque insisted there was no outside influence involved in Spain's success.

"We played our own game," he said.

"There were no real external influences: we were faithful to what we've done in recent years."

Del Bosque expressed some sympathy for Italy, who had less preparation time after Thursday's semi-final win over Germany.

"The Italians have played a great tournament," said Del Bosque.

"They had the bad luck of the injury to Thiago Motta and that's where it all ended for them, unfortunately."

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Andres Iniesta claimed the man-of-the-match award after another exceptional performance.

He is one of four players - Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xavi are the others - to have started all three final triumphs.

"It's very nice to have this man-of-the-match trophy but it's especially great to be champions again," he said.

"The team played a great match and all the players were at their top level.

"We are very happy."

Iniesta backed up Del Bosque's sentiments about criticism having no effect.

The Barcelona man insisted Spain stayed true to their beliefs.

"Everybody has their opinion," he said.

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"We are not here to say that our game is the most beautiful of them all. Everyone has a different view.

"Today, we had a great level of play and were faithful to our style.

"That they only had 10 players made things easier for us.

"This victory is unique and magical. It is something that cannot be repeated. We haven't ignored how great it is."

The magnitude of their achievement was not lost on Alba either.

"My team-mates made history before and now I am doing so together with them in my first European Championship," said the flying full-back.

"I am struggling to believe it, but it seems to be sinking in little by little.

"I told my friends and family I was going to score tonight and that's the way it turned out."

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