Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon spoke of his disappointment at having missed out on the Euro 2012 title but said he could only congratulate winners Spain.
The world champions were a cut above yesterday and romped to a 4-0 thrashing that was accentuated by Italy playing the last half hour a man down after Thiago Motta limped off once coach Cesare Prandelli had already exhausted his substitutions.
By then Italy were already two goals down and reduced to virtual spectators, according to midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
But for Buffon there was no shame in losing to the best.
"For many of our squad it was their first final so that's why it's a huge disappointment," he said.
"But it's also true that in such an important match when there's the substantial difference that you saw, all you can do is clap your hands and applaud the others."
Buffon said he could only think of one other occasion when he had played in a side so totally dominated: a 3-0 Confederations Cup group stage defeat to Brazil in 2009.
"I had a great view of the red waves from the first minute to the last," said the goalkeeper of Spain's performance.
"They played with great knowledge of being strong and of what they wanted and knowing that they had already won a lot so they knew how to achieve this type of result.
"And against a team (Italy) that physically was in the red.
"Maybe in the Confederations Cup against Brazil (it was similar), we lost 3-0 and were never in the game, but this is a little different because it was a final."