For the first time in 44 years, Spain has won a major soccer tournament, defeating Germany 1-0 in the Euro2008 Finals. Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute.
Excerpts from "Spain win Euro 2008!":
Fernando Torres finally lived up to his billing as one of the world's great strikers on Sunday by scoring to make Spain the champions of Europe.Here's a clip of the goal by Torres. The replays show what an amazing effort he made. While watching the match live, I didn't think he had a chance on that one.
Torres, who had been overshadowed by teammate David Villa all tournament, scored in the 33rd minute of the final to topple the three-time European champions and earn his nation's first major title since 1964.
Touching a sliding pass from Xavi Hernandez past Philipp Lahm, Torres turned and ran past his marker on the opposite side, collected the ball and lifted a shot over sliding goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and into the far corner.
In the end, Spain was a deserved winner of the 13th European Championships, co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria.
Long known as underachievers who peaked between tournaments rather than at them, Spain reached the final at Ernst Happel Stadium with a string of beguiling attacking displays orchestrated by a vibrant midfield – and held true to their values in the highest pressure match.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva swapped positions constantly against a midfield marshalled by Michael Ballack and eventually wore out their opponents until it seemed Spain was simply counting down time until the final whistle.Germany dominated the opening exchanges until a lucky break in the 14th minute gave the Spanish their first chance on goal and a boost that clearly lifted their play.
On a rare foray forward, Iniesta sent a cross into the box from the left and German defender Christoph Metzelder stuck out a boot to send the ball rocketing toward his own goal. Only a diving reaction save by Jens Lehmann kept it out.
Spain never looked back.With leading tournament scorer Villa absent because of injury, Torres was again the sole outlet in attack. He took Xavi's pass and finished off his chance by flipping the ball over Lehmann and watching it roll softly into the corner for his second goal of Euro 2008.
Ballack, who had already received treatment for a head wound and was railing against every decision in Spain's favour, shot past the post and almost set up substitute Kevin Kuranyi with a cross that goalkeeper Iker Casillas just tipped away.
But from then on, aside from isolated passages of play, it was all Spain.After winning their first title in 44 years having beaten Italy and Germany, Spain no longer need to think of themselves as an underachieving football nation.
The "Red Fury" won their second European Championships playing with flair, finesse and a determination that the team had lacked in so many previous competitions.
The Spaniards may not have as many trophies as the Germans or Italians, but the sparkling performance in Euro 2008 finally ended Spain's curse of exiting major tournaments in the quarterfinals.The 1-0 win over Germany extended Spain's unbeaten streak to 22 matches and allowed embattled coach Luis Aragonés to end his four-year spell with Spain on a high.
You can see more highlights here.
El País has a good slide show of the finals.
Spain became only the second team ever in the European Championship to win every game in their group and then go undefeated in the elimination rounds.
Now, La Furia Roja just has to continue its 22-game unbeaten streak all the way through the 2010 World Cup.