Spain reign at Euro 2012 西班牙2012欧洲杯夺冠

Vocabulary: football success and excellence 足球勝利與優秀

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Image caption Spain celebrates victory in the UEFA Euro 2012 final.

The pundits are running out of superlatives to describe the Spanish football team after they lifted the Euro 2012 trophy on Sunday.

They are the first football team in history to retain their crown in the European Championships having also won the competition in 2008. With their World Cup victory in South Africa in 2010 this makes Spain the only international team ever to win three major tournaments back-to-back.

The margin of victory was also record-breaking. The Spaniards routed their opponents Italy four-nil, which was the most one-sided result in the tournament's history. It was a masterclass in the passing style of football for which they have become known. Some experts are describing their scintillating performance as one of the greatest in history, comparing the team to such legendary sides of the past as Brazil in 1970 and France from 1998-2002.

So what makes this Spanish team so special? There is the individual brilliance of players such as man-of-the-match Andres Iniesta. But it's their artistry as a unit which has been most impressive. One statistic alone indicates why Spain have such a stranglehold on the world game: this team has not conceded a single goal in a knock-out game since 2006. That's over 17 hours of football. The fact of the matter is that their opponents simply can't get the ball long enough to play.

They also have the courage to follow their convictions. It might seem ridiculous now but the team were getting criticised for being 'boring' earlier in the competition. But the coach, Vicente del Bosque, stuck to his guns and continued to play in an unorthodox formation which contained no striker. The coach was vindicated by a display of such magnificence that one BBC expert claimed the match will still be talked about in 40 years' time.