Kiev: Italy coach Cesare Prandelli acknowledged Monday his side had struggled to cope with the physical demands of Euro 2012 after their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain in the final.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata secured the title for Spain in a showcase of sublime passing and ruthless finishing.
Italy had periods of pressure but couldn't make them count, especially when their third substitute Thiago Motta went off with a hamstring injury to leave his team to play out the last half hour with 10 men.
"We saw right from the start that they looked fresher," Prandelli told UEFA.com. "We had spent a lot of energy in the past week."
"We didn't get things wrong, but realized from the outset we needed to constrain them because physically we were really struggling."
He spoke of his pride, however, at reaching the final of a tournament few expected Italy to venture far, if at all, past the group stage.
"It was a fantastic tournament for us and I have to congratulate the lads."