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'Respect For Italy!' Spain's Iker Casillas Asked Ref To End Game Early

Beatdowns in soccer are only fun when one team's lack of competence has significantly contributed to the beatdown. That was not the case in the Euro 2012 final, where Italy lost Thiago Motta to injury shortly after making all three of their substitutions. They were forced to play 30 minutes of the match with 10 men, and due to Spain's ability to keep the ball, this was effectively the end of the match. La Roja scored twice in those final 30 minutes and looked like they could have scored more. It was no contest 11 vs. 10, and Spain captain Iker Casillas knew the Azzurri didn't deserve any further punishment in stoppage time.

This only ended the match about 30 seconds earlier than it should have based on the stoppage time added, but it was still a great gesture of sportsmanship from Casillas. Even though Spain were coasting to a win before Motta's injury, Italy were holding their own, and it was awful to see the match ended prematurely by an injury.

It's unlikely that Casillas' gesture is going to take any sting off the loss for Italy fans, but at least it makes the game's two late goals feel much less like an act of showboating. It's obvious that Spain didn't intend any disrespect, based on their captain's actions.