Buffon: "We were beaten by the best team in the world"
Italian captain Gianluigi Buffon, who on Sunday became the first goalkeeper to concede four goals in a Euro final, said that Spain are the best side in the world, dpa reported.
First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba and late strikes by substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave the La Roja a third consecutive major title after the 2008 Euro and the World Cup two years ago.
Buffon, who was in goals for Italy when they won the World Cup in 2006, had said before the start of the tournament that he did not expect his side to win the competition.
"I always said that there is one side that is just to good. They are much better than the other sides and that is the team we faced in the final." His words were to prove prophetic as the Azzurri were outplayed for most of the game. "Only the first 20 minutes of the match were good for us."
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, whom Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque once again used as the lone striker, created his side's opening goal after just 14 minutes when he went around his marker before crossing for Silva.
Italy then had their best spell in the game and pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but as they were close to leveling matters, Xavi's defence-splitting pass found Alba and he beat Buffon with a well-placed shot.
"When Alba scored the second goal, it was really over, said Buffon."
Italian coach Cesare Prandelli's side were further weakened when substitute Thiago Motta, who had come on as a second-half substitute in the 57th minute, had to leave the pitch just four minutes later with an injury.
As Prandelli had at that stage already used all three substitutes, Italy had to play the remaining half an hour with just 10 players.
"I wish no team to play with just 10 players in a final like that. It is very difficult to do something if you have just 10 players on the field," he said.
Spain made good use of their numerical advantage, as Italy simply folded at the end and allowed Torres and Mata through for their goals.
"But that is not the reason why we lost. We lost because they were the better side and they showed why they are the best side in the world," the 34-year-old goalkeeper said.