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Spain win a personal milestone for Casillas

Associated Press
Jul 02, 2012 at 09:02am IST

Kiev: Though a team triumph, Iker Casillas managed his own personal milestone when Spain beat Italy 4-0 to win the European Championship on Sunday. The 31-year-old goalkeeper became the first player to ever record 100 wins for his national team.

Instead of embracing his fiance journalist as he did after Spain's 2010 World Cup victory in South Africa, Casillas celebrated by giving her a peck on each cheek before running back onto the Olympic Stadium's field to celebrate the unprecedented milestone with his teammates.

"These years have been the best of my life," Casillas said. "Now, we have to enjoy this moment that will last a lifetime."

Spain win a personal milestone for Casillas

Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, left, and Italy's Mario Balotelli go for a header during the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday, July 1, 2012. (Associated Press)

Casillas, making his 137th appearance for Spain, ensured his team stayed in control of the match during a few dips, including just after the 14th minute opener from David Silva. Spain's captain got a hand to a cross destined for Daniele De Rossi in the 17th, before also getting a tip to a cross meant for Mario Balotelli 10 minutes later.

With Spain ahead 2-0 after the break, he made a point-blank reflex save to deny substitute Antonio Di Natale in the 51st.

Casillas conceded just one goal from open play at Euro 2012 — to Di Natale in the group stage — and hasn't let in a goal in a knock out match since Zinedine Zidane scored against him at the 2006 World Cup.

Casillas, who counts the Champions League, Spanish league, Intercontinental Cup among his many club trophies, hasn't conceded a goal in the 10 straight elimination games since Zidane scored against him. And Spain has won three straight major titles since.

"We played well in defense (all tournament), not just Iker, but the entire team," defender Gerard Pique said. "We followed our game plan."

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