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Football
Iniesta named player of Euro 2012
Barca star and man-of-the-match in Spain's final against Italy receives best player award as Torres wins Golden Boot.
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2012 11:38
Awards all round: Spain secured a third-straight major title on Sunday night as Iniesta collected the man-of-the-match award and Fernando Torres, left, collected the Golden Boot [EPA]

Spanish left wing Andres Iniesta was named player of Euro 2012 on Monday by European football’s governing body UEFA.

The 28-year-old - who was man-of-the-match in Spain's historic 4-0 win over Italy in Sunday's final - was selected by a technical committee made up of 11 people.

Spanish striker Fernando Torres won the Golden Boot award for top scorer edging out Germany's Mario Gomez.

Influential

Whilst Barcelona star Iniesta failed to score and set up just one of Spain's goals through the tournament he won the award for his overall influence and effect on the Spanish attacking play.

However, his one assist was a crucial one as it set up Jesus Navas for the only goal in the final group game against Croatia while his pass to Cesc Fabregas led to the first goal in the final - Fabregas's cross being headed home by David Silva.

Iniesta, who prior to the final was battling out the player of the tournament award with Andrea Pirlo, succeeds compatriot and Barcelona team-mate Xavi, who won the award at the 2008 edition. He was also their goal-scoring hero in the 1-0 win over the Dutch in the 2010 World Cup final and was one of 10 Spaniards to figure in the 23-man squad of the tournament.

Spain's victory saw them become the first national side to win an unprecedented three successive major titles having also won Euro 2008.

Top scorer Torres - whose goal in the 4-0 win over Italy in the final made him the only player to score in two Euro finals - like Mario Gomez scored three goals and provided one assist during the tournament.

However, UEFA gave the Golden Boot award to him on the tiebreak of having had less game time during the finals, the Spaniard having had 189 minutes on the pitch compared to Gomez's 280.

Four other players also ended up with three goals, Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo, rising Russian star Alan Dzagoev and one of the revelations of the tournament, Croatia's Mario Mandzukic.

Phoenix rising

For Torres it sees him complete an incredible latter part of the 2011/12 season where he also collected FA Cup and Champions League winners medals with Chelsea having been all but written off for the majority of the campaign as he failed to fire for the English club.

However, there was to be a letdown for the former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool star as he missed out on being named in the 23-man squad of the championship named by UEFA later on Monday.

While he came on as a substitute during the final - he also set up Juan Mata for the fourth and final goal - rightback Alvaro Arbeloa was the only one of the starting XI against Italy who failed to make the UEFA squad.

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Source:
AFP
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