Thiago Alcantara scored a first-half hat-trick as Spain outclassed Italy to retain the European Under-21 Championship.

The Spanish captain was left unmarked to head in early on before Ciro Immobile scored a wonderful equaliser from Giulio Donati's pass.

Thiago restored the lead with a crisp shot and added a third from the spot.

In a flat second half, Isco's penalty sealed the win before Fabio Borini added a late consolation for Italy.

Past Euro U21 finals

  • 2013 : Italy 2-4 Spain
  • 2011 : Switzerland 0-2 Spain
  • 2009 : Germany 4-0 England
  • 2007 : Netherlands 4-1 Serbia
  • 2006 : Netherlands 3-0 Ukraine
  • 2004 : Italy 3-0 Serbia & Montenegro

Spain's under-21 team has now matched its senior and Under-19s sides in winning consecutive European Championships and the performance of this group in Israel suggests the future is well mapped out.

This was the country's fourth triumph at this level and Malaga midfielder Isco, who is reported to be considering a move to Real Madrid or Manchester City and has been a shining light in this tournament, was once again involved in some of Spain's best passages of play.

The 21-year-old was eclipsed by his skipper on this occasion, but he played his part in the sixth-minute opener when he fed Alvaro Morata, whose cross was met by Barcelona midfielder Thiago with a thumping header.

The lead lasted just four minutes as Immobile scored his first goal of the tournament in superb fashion, collecting Donati's floated through ball before lobbing David De Gea.

It was the first goal Spain have conceded in Israel and marked a thrilling opening to the game in Jerusalem.

But 'La Roja' reached the final unbeaten with the type of quick passing and fluid movement expected of the senior side, and it was not long before Italy were under pressure again as Morata and Alberto Moreno tested goalkeeper Francesco Bardi.

Alessandro Florenzi drew a save from De Gea at the other end but Thiago grabbed his and Spain's second when he was picked out by Koke's well-flighted pass.

Italian-born Thiago, whose Brazilian father Mazinho won the 1994 World Cup, then put the game beyond Italy's reach when he drilled in from the spot after Cristian Tello was brought down by Donati.

Italy - who have won this tournament a record five times - struggled to respond, such was their opponents' dominance of possession.

And although Borini added a second Italian goal 10 minutes from time, by then Isco had scored another Spain penalty, his third goal of the tournament making the Liverpool striker's late response academic.

Live text and stats

 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Euro U21 Championship

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Italy U21 2-4 Spain U21 FT
(HT 1-3)
  • Immobile 10
  • Borini 79
  • Thiago 6
  • Thiago 31
  • Thiago (pen) 38
  • Isco (pen) 66

Italy U21

  • 01 Bardi
  • 02 Donati
  • 06 Caldirola yellow card
  • 13 Bianchetti
  • 19 Regini yellow card
  • 04 Verratti yellow card (Crimi 76 yellow card)
  • 07 Florenzi (Saponara 58)
  • 21 Rossi
  • 09 Immobile (Gabbiadini 58)
  • 10 Insigne
  • 20 Borini

Substitutes

  • 12 Colombi,
  • 22 Leali,
  • 03 Biraghi,
  • 05 Capuano ,
  • 08 Marrone,
  • 15 Sansone,
  • 16 Bertolacci,
  • 18 Saponara,
  • 23 Crimi,
  • 11 Gabbiadini,
  • 14 Destro,
  • 17 Paloschi

Spain U21

  • 01 De Gea
  • 02 Montoya
  • 05 Bartra
  • 06 Martinez yellow card
  • 18 Moreno
  • 03 Illarramendi
  • 08 Koke yellow card (Camacho 86)
  • 10 Thiago
  • 11 Tello yellow card (Muniain 70)
  • 12 Morata (Moreno 80)
  • 22 Isco

Substitutes

  • 13 Marino,
  • 23 Robles,
  • 04 Nacho,
  • 15 Muniesa,
  • 16 Gonzalez,
  • 20 Carvajal,
  • 14 Camacho,
  • 17 Sarabia,
  • 09 Moreno,
  • 19 Muniain,
  • 21 Vazquez
Ref: JugAtt: 28,000
ITALY U21
SPAIN U21

Possession

  • Italy U21 50%
  • Spain U21 50%

Attempts on target

  • Italy U21 0
  • Spain U21 0

Attempts off target

  • Italy U21 0
  • Spain U21 0

Corners

  • Italy U21 0
  • Spain U21 0

Fouls

  • Italy U21 0
  • Spain U21 0