Monday, June 30, 2008

Spain Triumphs Germany in Euro 2008 ! Detailed account on how they won!

Germany 0 - 1 Spain

FERNANDO Torres was the hero for Spain last night, firing the nation to Euro 2008 glory against Germany in Vienna and ending 44 years of underachievement.

Torres struck in the 33rd minute in Vienna and despite the efforts of Germany skipper Michael Ballack, they held on to their lead to spark wild celebrations in Austria's capital.

Heavyweights in European football who produce a constant stream of individual talents, Spain had not won a major tournament since 1964 but finally shook off their tag of being chokers, not able to cope with the pressure of the highest stage.

They have also been perceived as a nation divided by their regions – the lyrics to their national anthem are not used – but full-back Sergio Ramos had kept mentioning the word "united" in the run up to the final, and when Torres secured the Henri Delaunay trophy for them they were just that.

Just shy of his 70th birthday, Luis Aragones will now leave his post as coach, probably for Fenerbahce, as a champion. Vicente del Bosque has been tipped to take over and he will inherit a young squad who have their sights on the World Cup.

While Portugal appeared destabilised by Chelsea announcing Luiz Felipe Scolari as their new coach during these finals, there were no signs of the same happening to Spain following Fenerbahce's statement revealing Aragones as their new manager on the eve of their semi-final.

They finish as the tournament's top goalscorers, helped by Torres who took the English Premier League by storm with 33 rookie goals for Liverpool. He was not on the top of his game for the whole of the tournament, but the 24-year-old stepped into the shoes of David Villa when Spain needed him.

"Viva Espana" sang their fans before the sangria started flowing.

This was billed as a clash of Germany's efficiency and power versus Spain's fluidity and creativity, which were on display as Russia were swept aside in the semi-finals.

Germany's drive came from Ballack, with the Chelsea midfielder passed fit despite carrying a calf injury on the eve of the final. "Against the odds we will win the trophy", read one headline from a German newspaper on the day of the game, and Ballack was seen as the key to their chances.

They had been inconsistent in the group stages, then stuttered past Turkey after outmuscling Portugal. Only Ballack's level of performance had been high throughout all of it but he ends the tournament a "nearly man" again. Six years ago he missed the World Cup final through suspension just after Bayer Leverkusen missed a trio of chances for silverware. This season Manchester United pipped him to the Premier League and Champions League titles, and he finds himself the bridesmaid once more.

Facing Ballack was a Barcelona-bred wall of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas in midfield, with Arsenal's youngster getting his chance following Villa's injury. But before they were allowed to impose themselves on the game, Germany had already wasted two early chances.

Ramos lost his bearings and gifted a pass straight to Miroslav Klose, whose poor touch let him down as he sped past Carles Puyol, and the opportunity had gone. Then Thomas Hitzlsperger was teed up on the edge of the area by Klose but could not get purchase on his shot.

Spain started to move through the gears after their reprieve, never looking back after they were let off the hook. Their opening chance came after a Xavi pass had split the German defence to find Iniesta on the left. When the cross came over, Christoph Metzelder sliced towards his own goal and Jens Lehmann, at 38 the oldest player to feature in a European Championship final, athletically tipped around the post.

The post came to Lehmann's rescue when Torres climbed above Per Mertesacker to meet Ramos' centre, but the Liverpool man was not made to wait long for his goal. It came 12 minutes before the break when Xavi played the ball beyond Philipp Lahm. The full-back was favourite to clear but Torres used pace and muscle to get around him and chip over the diving Lehmann's legs before celebrating his goal by sucking his thumb.

It could have got worse for Germany had David Silva not volleyed over wildly when found at the far post by Iniesta.

German fans feared the worst when Ballack was forced off the field with a cut eye, but he returned after getting the bloodied injury treated twice. He was also booked along with opposing captain Iker Casillas for talking back at the referee.

Spain had chances to make it comfortable after the break, with Lehmann saving from Ramos' header and Iniesta seeing a drive cleared off the line. However, their own indiscipline almost cost them when Silva butted his head towards Lukas Podolski, but no card was shown.

Torres was taken off in the 78th minute, with his job done in waking the sleeping giants of European football.

How the final unfolded in ecstasy for the Spanish

Eight minutes: Germany's Thomas Hitzlsperger has the first shot of the night from the left edge of the penalty area but Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas gathers comfortably.

13: Christoph Metzelder almost puts through his own net when he swings a leg at Andres Iniesta's low cross but the defender's blushes are spared by Jens Lehmann's superb reaction save.

19: Half-chance for Fernando Torres from a right-wing free-kick but the Liverpool forward's header sails wide of the target.

22: Torres comes even closer moments later, with the striker rising above Per Mertesacker to connect with Sergio Ramos' lofted cross but the upright comes to Germany's rescue with Lehmann beaten. Germany clear only as far as Joan Capdevila, who fires wide.

29: The Germans claim a penalty as Spain full-back Joan Capdevila mis-controlls the ball and it bounces up to hit his hand, but referee Roberto Rosetti waves away the appeals.

30: Andres Iniesta finds Cesc Fabregas in space 25 yards from goal but the Arsenal playmaker's low drive is gathered without fuss by Lehmann.

33: GERMANY 0 SPAIN 1: Torres outpaces Philipp Lahm to be first to Xavi's defence-splitting pass and fires Spain in front as he lofts the ball over the advancing Lehmann.

35: Germany captain Michael Ballack is forced from the field after a clash of heads with Marcos Senna and requires lengthy treatment to a cut above his right eye.

53: A deep corner kick finds its way through David Silva, who drills the ball low towards the left corner of the Germany goal only for Ramos' flick to take the ball just the wrong side of the post.

59: Midfielder Ballack takes aim from 25 yards but the ball flies narrowly wide of Casillas' right-hand upright to the relief of Spanish supporters.

66: Ramos almost makes it 2-0 when he meets Xavi's free-kick with a bullet header but Lehmann pats the ball away for a corner.

68: Iniesta receives the ball in space inside the German penalty area but his toe-poked effort is cleared off the line by Torsten Frings.

81: Santi Cazorla's right-wing cross is nodded back across the face of goal by fellow substitute Daniel Guiza but the advancing Senna just fails to get a telling touch on the ball with the net yawning.

90+3: Italian referee Rosetti blows the full-time whistle to confirm Spain's first major tournament trophy for 44 years.

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Germany didn't win but Michael Ballack is still hot!


Superman said...

Nice and detailed highlights over there. Too bad I have watched the match live so I remember every moment of it. Let's cheer with Spain of winning EURO 2008. Spain did pretty well this time beating Germany 1-0.

starwish said...

Yeah, they did, though I wasn't exactly rooting for them to win. But, congrats Spain!