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In Pictures: From Ireland rout to Italy mauling - how Spain won Euro 2012

Vicente del Bosque's side has made history after dispatching Italy in Kiev to win Euro 2012 and add another trophy to its collection. traces back its road to glory

Spain, once the perennial underachievers of world football, has engraved its name into the record books by becoming the first national team to win three consecutive major tournaments after defeating Italy to successfully defend its European Championship crown ... another unprecedented feat.

After claiming just one trophy in their entire footballing history prior to 2008, La Roja now have three on the trot following successes at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. But unlike in Austria-Switzerland four years ago, it was far from the vintage silky-smooth Spain that emerged as victors at Euro 2012. Vicente del Bosque's men labored at times and faced criticism from all quarters for their cautious approach despite staying true to their possession, passing game.

Without a traditional striker up front for most of the matches, the Spaniards struggled against Italy, Croatia and Portugal, but comfortably beat Republic of Ireland and France, before a 4-0 win against the Azzurri in the final. But as is always the case with great champions, La Roja had the grit, determination, and winning mentality to overcome all challengers when their football deserted them. looks back at Spain's third consecutive major international triumph as it emerges as the kings in Kiev.

No picnic |
Spain players preparing for a gruelling campaign to retain their Euro crown

Close shave | Ramos' last-ditch tackle denies Balotelli the opening goal

Toto takes charge | Casillas hapless in preventing Di Natale giving Italy the lead

False start | Spain's false nine Fabregas saves La Roja's blushes with the equalizer

Normal service | Torres gets Spain back on track with the opener vs. Ireland

Walk in the park| Silva effortlessly rolls in one of Spain's four goals

Hearts in mouth | Rakitic almost headed Croatia in front in the final Group C clash

Smash & grab | Navas blasts in Spain winner late in the game against the Croatians

Keeping him Franck |
La Roja working hard to contain Ribery in the quarters

Centurion hero | Alonso celebrates his 100th cap by heading Spain in front vs. France

X marks the spot | Xabi converts a late penalty to seal Spain's quarterfinal win

You again |
Busquets and Ronaldo take their club rivalry to the international stage

Iker to the rescue | Casillas saves Portugal's first penalty in the semifinal shootout

Fabulous winner | Cesc converts La Roja's winning spot-kick in the last four

Flash mob |
Spain celebrates its passage to the final after the shootout win

Center stage |
Spain and Italy line up for the pre-final pleasantries

Wasting no time |
Silva took just 14 minutes to open the scoring

Maestro at work |
Xavi steadies the ship for La Roja in midfield in the final against Italy

Jolly Jordi |
Alba puts a sensational Spanish first half to bed with a second goal

Game over |
Thiago Motta's withdrawal left Italy with 10 men, and Spain cruising towards glory

Three for Torres |
Fernando puts the icing on the cake with a third goal

Captain marvel |
Casillas ecstatic as he skippers his country to a historic 'treble'

Top of the world |
Cesc, Xabi & Co. in raptures as Spain coast to the Euro 2012 title