by Darren Walsh
Gianluca Vialli back in the punditry line-up; as well as raising the standard of analysis, he’s also made Hansen and Shearer step their sartorial games up, each in a suit.
There’s a freestyle juggler behind Jake Humphrey and Martin Keown as they talk; Keown will be especially wary of getting a ball fired at his head after that FA Cup tie a few months ago. He also thinks Pique has been the best central defender, so I’m not sure what matches he’s been watching.
There’s meant to be a choir singing the Italian anthem, but they miss their cue and don’t start until well into it.
Gigi Buffon puts in his hair clips just before kick-off; he really should be more manly and use a…..er…headband.
The worst thing about Mark Lawrenson’s “comedy styling’s” is that no one has told him that it doesn’t work. In fact his regular commentary partner Guy Mowbray positively encourages it.
If anyone is going to try and wind up Mario Balotelli tonight it’s Sergio Ramos, and the Madrid man has started early with a sneaky elbow as they contest a header.
Plenty of Roman centurions in the crowd, though I’m not sure that the original ones had their faces painted with the flag of Italy.
During a complaint of an Italian dive, Lawrenson comes out with “It’s a good job you can’t swear on TV.” No, go on Lawro, I’d love to hear that and for you to be bundled away from the mic by security.
Spain have figured out finally how best to score goals; get the cross in for the big man to nod home. Although the crosser is Fabregas, and the “big man” is David Silva.
An Italian fan is looking grimly at the field as he is shown on the big screen; his glum facial expression doesn’t change, even when his mate keeps hitting on the shoulder to acknowledge that he knows he’s on camera, and I for one commend him for his stoicism.
Martin Keown’s favourite, Pique, gets booked for going through the back of Cassano.
This might be one of the fastest paced finals I’ve seen; no passing around at the back so far.
Turns out Spain do have a centre forward; it’s just that he play at left back. Jordi Alba charges through the Italian defence, gathers the return pass and slots past Buffon; not many full backs can do that.
Lawro uses the Pirlo/peerless pun again. Just stop it.
Di Natale is getting chances since he came on at half time. Now if he could stop being offside he might get a goal. Even with the big chance that Casillas saved, he was off, but it wasn’t spotted.
Motta comes on as the third sub and four minutes later he’s off with an injury. Just what Italy needed to compound their problems.
Mowbray is desperately trying to keep interest in the game going, saying that there’s always a chance Italy could come back. Don’t worry pal, we’re not going to switch off.
“Juan Mata, he hasn’t kicked a ball all tournament.”
“A bit like Ireland.”
Not bad Lawro, not bad at all.
Fernando Torres is on; nice of Spain to try and even things up with Italy’s ten men. Torres could become joint top scorer with a goal here (he has two). The fact that scoring three goals in a tournament can lift you to those heights has been one of the downsides of this competition. Didn’t players have to score five or six before to be on that level?
And he gets that goal after Italy lose possession, with a finish straight out of 2009.
Juan Mata comes on and scores with what I think is his first touch; biggest win in the Euro Championship Final now.
Now it turns out that Torres will get the Golden Boot for his three goals and an assist, because he’s played fewer minutes than Mario Gomez who has the same stats.
Somewhere, Toto Schillaci and Oleg Salenko have just thrown a beer can at the TV.
While the kids go mad on the pitch, the teams get their medals.
Italy look quite happy as they walk up the steps, I think they know that they overachieved.
The fireworks go off as Spain line up for the photos; they weren’t meant to go off at that stage but Balotelli got his hands on them.
Martin Keown is admiring how the Barcelona and Madrid players came back from disappointment during their club seasons to win this; yeah, Madrid winning the league must have been a real choker for their players.
Anyway, they’re among the best international teams ever now with a third tournament win in a row; well deserved.