Spain became the first national team ever to win three major tournaments Sunday by beating Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 championship. Now its place is secure not just in the record books but also in soccer lore.
Comparing different eras makes for fascinating debates, and perhaps in some hypothetical parallel universe, Pele's 1970 Brazil or Ferenc Puskas's 1954 Hungary could square off in a best-of-seven series to help determine the greatest team ever, once and for all. But the cold, hard numbers are evident. And what's more, Spain reached this pinnacle of soccer in what is arguably a tougher era, with expanded tournaments and greater worldwide participation involving teams from Africa and Asia.
So having won three in a row, can Spain make it four?