When Spain finally won a major tournament – Euro 2008 – to end a lengthy 44-year gap without success, it clearly sparked something in La Furia Roja. Two years later Spain lifted the World Cup, and then enjoyed back-to-back Euro victories by retaining the championship this summer. The final was against Italy, which had held Spain to a 1-1 tie at the start of the tournament. But the Azzurri were powerless to resist an astounding show of Spanish power, which resulted in a 4-0 thrashing.
The majestic David Silva scored first, and then Jordi Alba effectively ended the game just before the break, by scoring a sublime second goal. Admittedly, Italy was literally hamstrung by Thiago Motta’s second half injury, which meant they had to play with 10 men after already having used up their three substitutes. A final flourish from Spain’s Chelsea contingent of Fernando Torres and Juan Mata completed the rout. If Spain manages to retain the World Cup in Brazil 2014, we may well have to anoint them the greatest team of all time. In the eyes of many, though, they already are.