Kiev: Fernando Torres has collected the Euro 2012 Golden Boot, scoring three goals during Spain`s title-winning campaign.
In a dramatic turn of events the 28-year-old ensured it would be who won the accolade with a superb 15-minute cameo in the 4-0 final win over Italy to put another torrid season behind him. Despite being level with Mario Gomez on three goals and one assist, he takes home the prize having played fewer minutes than his German counterpart.
Torres scored Spain`s third in the final with a calm finish before assisting his Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata for their fourth moments later, which together with his brace against Republic of Ireland in the second group game saw him top the scorer`s charts. The Spaniard also became the first ever player to score in two separate European Championship finals.
Second-placed Gomez scored the only goal as Germany defeated Portugal in their Group B opener before netting a classy brace against Netherlands in the next game. He then supplied an assist with a skewed shot in the 2-1 win over Denmark that fell to Lukas Podolski who then slotted home.
Alan Dzagoev came in third position having played the least amount of minutes of all other players who were level on three strikes but his goals were not enough to stop Russia from being eliminated at the group stage.
Mario Mandzukic suffered a similar fate to Dzagoev as his trio of goals ensured that Croatia put up a staunch fight for progression from Group C. There was a silver lining for the striker however as his impressive displays against Republic of Ireland and Italy earned him a permanent move to Bayern Munich.
Mario Balotelli and Cristiano Ronaldo complete the table despite both coming in for criticism early in the competition for their slow starts. Balotelli`s double against Italy booked his nation a spot in the final but they were powerless to resist Spain who won their third consecutive major international trophy.
After ensuring Portugal advanced to the semi-final with a double against Netherlands and the winner in the quarter-final versus Greece, Ronaldo failed to put in a decisive display against Iberian rivals Spain in the semi-final.
First Published: Monday, July 02, 2012, 10:35