David De Gea finished his 2012/13 season with another trophy on Tuesday as Spain recorded a stylish and comprehensive 4-2 victory over Italy in the final of the UEFA Under-21 Championship.
The Manchester United goalkeeper, who was part of the Spanish squad that won the previous tournament in Denmark two years ago, also made history in Israel by receiving his 27th cap with the age group to equal the all-time appearance record originally set by assistant manager Santi Denia.
The only slight sour note, at least for a perfectionist like De Gea, was that his run of not conceding a goal during the competition was ended by the Italians – but it’s difficult to imagine the Spanish hero losing much sleep over that statistic with another winners’ medal around his neck.
In the end, Tuesday’s final was a relatively one-sided affair as the reigning champions flexed their considerable muscle at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, exporting the tika-taka style of football that has proved so successful for every Spanish national team of all ages in recent years.
Thiago Alcantara – a reported United target – scored a clinical first-half hat-trick to earn a comfortable 3-1 lead by the break with Ciro Immobile responding for Italy. Isco then added a fourth to seemingly wrap up the tie before Liverpool's Fabio Borini snatched a consolation goal with time running out.