Sunday, June 29, 2008

Spain wins Euro cup 2008 Final

Their last significant title came in the 1964 Euros at home and it took Spain 44 years to claim their first major football title as they beat Germany 1-0 in Sunday's European Championship final in Vienna.

Fernando Torres scored the only goal of the game, sliding the ball past German keeper Jens Lehmann after 33 minutes to win the Euro cup 2008 Final.

Germany started the second half strongly as they went in search of an equalizer with German captain Michael Ballack firing a shot narrowly wide on 58 minutes.

But Spain had a series of chances to double their lead midway through the half as Sergio Ramos headed straight at Lehmann and Andres Iniesta forced two more saves in quick succession from the German keeper.

Marcos Senna also went close for Spain with nine minutes left, failing to connect with the ball at full stretch in front of an open goal after substitute Dani Guiza's clever headed pass.
Spaniards swept their first-round games, eliminated World Cup champion Italy in a penalty-kicks shootout in the quarterfinals, then routed Russia 3-0 in the semifinals.

Torres, who had 33 goals for Liverpool this season but has been invisible in Euros, came through off a brilliant feed from Xavi Hernandez.

This was the last game for 69-year-old Aragones, the oldest coach to win the Euros.

"The most important thing about our team, perhaps, is the manager," Torres said. "He has confidence in us and he lets us play. We have brought him the championship in his last game for Spain and we are very happy we could make this history for him and for us."

The three-week Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland had already delivered plenty of drama, excitement and hugely entertaining football, raising expectations that the title showdown would serve up a suitably thrilling finale.

The match also offered an intriguing contest between two football-obsessed nations with contrasting records of success.

Germany were chasing a record fourth European Championship title to go with those they won in 1996, 1980 and 1972. With three World Cups to their name as well, the German national side have a reputation as pragmatic and perennial challengers for major honors, most recently reaching the semifinals of the 2006 World Cup.

The Spanish, by contrast, had long been considered the sport's biggest underachievers. Home to two of the world's greatest clubs in Real Madrid and Barcelona and one of Europe's strongest leagues, it had been 24 years since Spain last reached a major final, losing to France in the 1984 European Championships.

The country's sole previous international success came in the same competition as hosts in 1964 and the current squad's run to the final had captured the nation's imagination, Goodman said.

With two of the world's top clubs, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the nation has tons of talent. Now with the With two of the world's top clubs, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, the nation has tons of talent. What it has lacked is fortitude.

No one can say that anymore as they have put their critics to rest and emerged as the European football champions in an exciting and thrilling tournament.

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