Euro '08: The Final

Posted on: 30 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Spain end 44 years of hurt and are crowned European champions after their 1-0 win over Germany in Vienna.

Spain picked up their first major trophy for 44 years after winning Euro 2008 with a dominant and stylish victory over Germany in the Austrian capital.

A thrilling Euro 2008 was crying out for an entertaining final to end proceedings in Austria and Switzerland and both sides played their part in an enthralling encounter.

Liverpool forward Fernando Torres was Spain’s goal hero, striking after 33 minutes to cleverly lift Xavi’s pass over German stopper Jens Lehmann.

It was the least Spain deserved after dominating the final throughout, with Torres heading against the post and Marcos Senna coming inches away from adding a second in the final stages.

Michael Ballack came closest for Germany, volleying a snap shot narrowly wide after the interval but that was as good as it got for the pre-tournament favourites, who were outclassed from start to finish at the Ernst Happel stadium.

The win was a victory for football as veteran coach Luis Aragones guided Spain to the title, playing some outstanding football throughout the tournament. The Spanish have long had a reputation as under-achievers on the big occasions, but this was a richly-deserved triumph.

Aragones announced prior to this summer’s tournament that he was to step down as Spain boss at its conclusion and he goes out on a high, securing Spain’s first piece of silverware since the 1964 European Championship.

The final whistle marked wild celebrations from players and fans alike with Real Madrid goalkeeper and Spanish captain Iker Casillas lifting the trophy.

Casillas at the final whistleSpain’s all-round effort and industry mean the Iberian nation are already being marked down among the favourites for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Spanish cruised through Group D winning all three matches against Russia, Sweden and Greece before a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Italy in the last eight.

Russia were again brushed aside in the semi-final before Sunday evening’s famous final.

Germany had sneaked through Group B after finishing runners up to Croatia, but Portugal were then soundly sunk in the quarter-finals before a dramatically late victory over Turkey booked a final date.

German skipper Ballack’s misery in major finals continues having lost two Champions League finals and also been suspended for the 2002 World Cup final when Germany lost to Brazil.

Both sides will now need to regroup in the coming months before beginning the long road to World Cup 2010; qualifying starts on 6th September with Spain entertaining Bosnia and Germany facing a trip to Liechtenstein.

Was Euro 2008 the best European Championships ever? Did Spain deserve to win? What was your favourite memory from the tournament? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or discussing your thoughts in the 50connect forums.

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