Fabio Borini scored but saw his dreams of ending the season with a trophy quashed on Tuesday, as Spain beat Italy 4-2 in the European U-21 Championship final at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
The 22-year-old notched his second of the tournament in Israel after completing a one-two and thrashing home from 20 yards with the aid of a slight deflection in the 80th minute.
But the strike proved merely a consolation for Borini and his international colleagues as a hat-trick by Thiago Alcantara ensured Spain defended the trophy it captured two summers ago.
Spain took the lead in the sixth minute when Alvaro Morata spun into space on the left hand side of the penalty box and fizzed a cross onto the head of Thiago to nod into a gaping net.
But Borini’s Italy responded before the 10-minute mark — Ciro Immobile beautifully controlled a long pass behind the Spanish defense and coolly dinked the ball over an onrushing David de Gea.
The Liverpool forward almost created a second goal for his country in the 24th minute, finding Alessandro Florenzi with a clever pass. The latter was denied smartly by De Gea.
Spain regained their advantage at the half-hour mark. Koke was afforded time and freedom to deliver into the area, where Thiago chested down and drilled, left-footed, beyond the goalkeeper.
Thiago completed a superb hat-trick in the 38th minute from 12 yards following an alleged foul on the rapid Cristian Tello by Italy defender Giulio Donati.
Spain grabbed a fourth midway through the second period to quell any hopes of an Italian comeback, with Isco adopting penalty duties and passing the ball comfortably into the bottom corner.
Borini added his name to the scoresheet and reduced the deficit for Italy with 10 minutes left on the clock, but no more goals followed and the striker had to settle for second place on this occasion.