Most of Italy fell silent as the national football team were thrashed 4-0 by Spain in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev last night.
High hopes were pinned on the side after a convincing win against Germany in the semi-finals. Striker Mario Balotelli had finally seemed to win over the Italian public’s favour with his spectacular goals and show of strength against the German side, although his performance against Spain in the final was perhaps one of the most disappointing. He is reported to have stormed off after the final whistle before returning to collect his losers medal.
Other key players such as Andrea Pirlo and goalkeeper/captain Gigi Buffon also failed to deliver both through fatigue and pressure from the stronger Spanish side. Italy were also reduced to a 10 men team 15 minutes into the second half when substitute Thiago Motta came down with a hamstring injury.
Despite the huge disappointment for football fans and the nation as a whole, the Italian press was generally sympathetic in their treatment of players in post-match reports, grateful that the team had come so far. PM Mario Monti, who was present as official representative, said that the Italian side could come out of the tournament ‘heads high’. The squad is to be received today by President Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.