LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), EL DIARIO VASCO (Spain), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
With Spain's Euro 2012 soccer championship victory, a 4-0 trouncing of Italy (the biggest ever margin in a European final) that secures an unprecedented third major title in a row, the question is on every sports fan's lips: Is Spain the best national soccer team of all time?
In Spain, which has erupted in celebrations as it did following the 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup, there was little doubt on putting things in historical perspective. According to Ángel María Villar, President of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF), "people that have been in soccer for many years not only compare Spain with the Brazil team of 1970, but they say it is superior," the Spanish daily El Diario Vasco reports.
But more impartial voices were no less enthusiastic. "Let's call Spain what it is: The most accomplished international soccer team of all time," writes Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl.
In Italy, as wounds licked, few are denying Spain's utter dominance of the sport. This is how Rome daily La Repubblica opened its coverage of the match in Monday's edition: "A massacre, not a final. A soccer "lesson," where lezione rhymes with umiliazione (humiliation). From the opening to closing whistle, Spain controlled the ball, and were superior in everything: more technical, more skilled, in better physical condtion and, above all, more beautiful."
"Aficionados will debate how Spain, the 2012 vintage, matches up against other great sides that seared their way into football history. Did it have the sustained brilliance of Pele's Brazil that scored 19 times in six games to win the 1970 World Cup? … But the facts of Spain's unprecendented achievements speak for themselves - Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 in succession, a first," International Sports Columnist for The Associated Press John Leicester comments.
No question the debate will keep Twitter busy: Yesterday, there were already over 16.5 million tweets about Euro 2012 final, with a peak of 15,358 tweets per second when Spain scored their 4th goal.