Spain caps an exciting European championship tournament with a 1-0 win over Germany.


Spain is the champion of Euro 2008 and it’s a fitting end. The Spanish are an entertaining team, and this was as entertaining as any soccer tournament has a right to be.

Desperate comebacks were the rule, late in second halves and even in injury time. Out of 31 games there were only two scoreless ties and six 1-0 games, including Spain’s title-match victory Sunday. Rare was the game that saw a team take a 1-0 lead, then sit on it in depressing fashion for upwards of an hour.

That included the final. Fernando Torres, the slumping striker who had hit a goalpost a few minutes earlier, scored in the 33rd minute on a brilliant athletic play, outmuscling Germany’s Philip Lahm for the ball, then chipping it over a diving goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who had come way out to challenge.

Spain didn’t go into a shell for the next 57 minutes-plus, something that surely would have been disastrous against the more powerful Germans, and the rest of the match was an exciting affair. Spain carried the action for most of it, consistently quicker than Germany, and there were several great scoring chances, starting less than two minutes after the goal when David Silva shanked a tough left-footer high over the net.

But after Spain missed on a couple of chances early in the second half, Germany had its best run, keeping the ball in the Spanish half of the field and getting several good scoring chances, though none so good that Spanish goalie Iker Casillas had to make any spectacular saves.

The best save of the night had been made by Lehmann in the early going, when he had to dive spectacularly to his right to stop what would have been an own goal.

In the 60th minute German captain Michael Ballack missed wide left from near the penalty arc, though Casillas might have gotten to the two-hopper had it been to the right of the post. A minute later Ballack again, suddenly alive after a desultory game on a bad calf, launched a cross from the left that Casillas caught in front of a flying Kevin Kuranyi. A minute after that Bastian Schweinsteiger beat two men on a run down the right side and then laid a cross right on the doorstep, just out of the reach of Miroslav Klose.

That flurry was Germany’s last good chance to tie it up. Spain kept attacking and got far closer to scoring than the Germans did down the stretch. Germany never got into much of an offensive rhythm, and as the game wore on, their legs seemed to wear down. It was all they could do not to lose by more than 1-0.

You have to tip your hat to them. By keeping the game close, they kept Euro 2008 exciting to the very end.

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>