Spain - 2008 European football Champions.
June 29, 2008 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Felicidades España!

Turkey tiptoed through the eye of the needletwice even — but were no match for the German machine.

And the Dutch may have been dazzling against World Champions Italy and runners-up France, but they stumbled hopelessly against a rugged Russia — who in turn fell to a superior Spanish side.

In the end, it was Fernando Torres who shot Spain to its first title in 44 years - without top scorer David Villa, no less.

It's been a blast. Congratulations, Spain, and see you all in four years.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (25 comments total)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:49 PM on June 29, 2008

Kind of a dull, anticlimactic final, compared to the amazing and exciting earlier games like Holland vs. Russia or Germany vs. Turkey.
Spain clearly deserved the win though, so bravo.
posted by Flashman at 4:12 PM on June 29, 2008

and all because Buffon made an huge mistake. For some reason he decided to be the first to defend (usually you want to be the first to kick the damn penalty - it's already a damn lottery by itself). Sadly, He is the best goalkeeper in the world, but not very good at penalty kicks.
posted by darkripper at 4:14 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Kind of a dull, anticlimactic final, compared to the amazing and exciting earlier games like Holland vs. Russia or Germany vs. Turkey.

Amen to that. I got so used to these games going into overtime, bereft with anticipation, that it seemed a bit uneventful when they won outright. Good playing from both teams nonetheless.
posted by spiderskull at 4:18 PM on June 29, 2008

Whoops, I meant "full of anticipation", not bereft of it. The final game was lacking anticipation.
posted by spiderskull at 4:19 PM on June 29, 2008

Italy manager Donadoni had the right idea to play for penalties against Spain- because he was down so many players for that match + Spain are a juggernaut (they now haven't lost in 22 straight matches).

A healthy (Cannavaro & Totti) , full (Pirlo & Gattuso) Italian squad would have ran through Germany today. Germany looked tired and that result today could easily have been 0 - 4 Spain.

Very frustrating if you are an Italy fan.

Anyway, congrats to Spain. They're having a really great run and it looks like they're unbeatable.
posted by Zambrano at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2008

In this tournament Italy won less than half their games, with 2 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss, so I wouldn't give them a free pass against Russia - a team whose only losses came against Spain. I for one am happy that dull, defensive football didn't do well this eurocup. You play for a draw, and you take your chances. If you do it a lot, eventually your fortune will run out.

Between Holland, Spain, and Turkey, this was a tournament for attacking football. The Germans too, when they get into a rhythm, are amazing, but in the final Spain played well, defended aggressively, and didn't let the Germans dominate the midfield like they are used to. They completely dominated the second half.
posted by cotterpin at 4:46 PM on June 29, 2008

Fantastic tournament. Nothing is going to beat the excitement of Turkey's last second goal against Croatia. That was an unbelievable highlight in an all-around amazing tournament. In the end, Spain was a machine and the Germans, for all their heart, were simply outclassed.
posted by felix betachat at 5:04 PM on June 29, 2008

Graceful for an English-Dutchman to congratulate the winners.
posted by Cranberry at 5:08 PM on June 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I for one am happy that dull, defensive football didn't do well this eurocup.

You missed the point. Russia lost to Spain because they failed to close-off the box.

You play wide open attacking football against a juggernaut like Spain and you take your chances.

See how that works?
posted by Zambrano at 5:17 PM on June 29, 2008

A word of praise for an overall terrific job by ESPN, which broadcast the entire tournament live in the States for the first time, using real soccer announcers (including the wonderful Andy Gray) and not their usual schmucks taking a break from baseball and dunderhead former MLS players.
posted by stargell at 5:33 PM on June 29, 2008

I hate to keep disagreeing with people, but ESPN's coverage was awful.

Andy Gray is extremely anti-Italy and a bit of a know-nothing, if you ask any Brit who knows him from Premiership broadcasts. The studio people were faking it. They were all referring to notes. Tommy Smyth does not need notes, but he's still horrible and adds nothing to the studio nor to the announcing. Rece Davis would be classified as one of those ESPN people taking a break from baseball. Derek Rae is good but not great.
posted by Zambrano at 6:28 PM on June 29, 2008

Cranberry: "Graceful for an English-Dutchman to congratulate the winners."

Thanks, Cran. But where I come from, we still believe — naively and decidedly — in the beautiful game, and graceful or no, I consider it nothing other than normal.

stargell: "A word of praise for an overall terrific job by ESPN, which broadcast the entire tournament live in the States for the first time"

Funnily enough, I was caught stuck at work for a few matches — I work a lot of evenings European time — and was thus resigned to jonesing for livestreams during quiet moments at work (although admittedly I have a radio at the office, and as any Dutch will attest, Jack van Gelder's commentary on NOS radio is a real treat). More than once I ended up with ESPN, and while I can't say I watched any game for longer than half an hour at any given stretch, I wasn't disappointed with what I saw on ESPN.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:51 PM on June 29, 2008

Yay for Spain!
posted by caddis at 8:59 PM on June 29, 2008

Kind of a dull, anticlimactic final

Well, you didn't spend the last 57 minutes asking how Spain was going to blow their lead and how stupidly they'd manage to do it.

Turkey really pointed the way to how Spain could beat Germany -- go right at their vaunted defense and run them ragged. Germany was as boring as Arsenal and they played like 2008 Arsenal.
posted by dw at 9:20 PM on June 29, 2008

I was hoping for a Turkey-Russia final with Turkey winning, since they were the most exciting team. Sadly that didn't come to pass. Although I suppose I wanted Spain to win, I was disappointed that Germany didn't score at all or play very well.
posted by Gnatcho at 9:45 PM on June 29, 2008

I don't like soccer much, but I do agree with goodnewsfortheinsane on Jack van Gelder's commentary. I've seen what sports commentators do for the NBA and NFL, and I'd advice anyone who thinks that is great to learn dutch, just to be able to listen to Jack.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:04 PM on June 29, 2008

Yay for Spain. They were looking good from the start.

On the silver lining side of things, I'm glad Donadoni is gone. I've never understood why a coach whose prior highest level experience was coaching friggin' Livorno got handed the National squad.
posted by romakimmy at 4:32 AM on June 30, 2008

romakimmy On the other hand, I wonder whether the Italians haven't been too rash in firing Donadoni. After all, he was the one who came closest to stopping Spain. This did of course unfortunately involve sucking the life out of the beautiful game and boring any spectator to death, but it came damn close to succeeding.
posted by Skeptic at 5:26 AM on June 30, 2008

Meh, I just found myself constantly yelling at the TV for his lineup/subbing choices, or lack thereof. We eeked out qualifying, and thanks to Holland, eeked out of the first round. Against Spain, he should have been gunning for scoring, and not for the penalty kicks. *

I preferred Lippi's style during the World Cup, the highlight of which IMO was Germany - Italy: not a boring game in the least. We'll see what happens under Lippi II...

*He has, to his credit, been very graceful about the end of his term as National coach (his contract extension was contingent on making the semi-finals).
posted by romakimmy at 6:03 AM on June 30, 2008

I still can't quite believe that Spain won. As I'm half-English and half-Spanish every football competition in my lifetime has been a tale of woe. I am so happy that Spain won, and especially by the way that they did it. They were the best team in the competition and they played some really wonderful football.
posted by ob at 6:50 AM on June 30, 2008

As a Liverpool fan, I've been backing Spain for quite a few years now, so I'm delighted they won it. Germany were reasonably good, but I was confident all the way through. I'm so glad that horrible, defensive, play-for-penalties Italy did not get through again. I noticed that one of the reserve keepers (not Reina) wore Arconada's shirt from when Michel Platini single handedly beat them in the 1984 final. Making him now give the trophy (as current UEFA President) to Arconada's shirt was a nice touch.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:03 AM on June 30, 2008

Oh, and ESPN is aweful. Andy Gray is an idiot - fair enough - but that guy Adrian Healy comes out with such pre-prepared bullshit cliches. "It's a Dutch oven and the French are Toast", the Reign in Spain" are just two of the more pukeworthy that I remember. I was probably too drunk or jabbing meat thermomenters into my ears when Turkey beat Croatia in that thrilling game, but I'm sure he used the term "Turkish Delight". Don't get me started on Tommy Smith's fucking onion bag. The man knows nothing about the sport.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:09 AM on June 30, 2008

Ole! Xavi was masterful.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:23 AM on June 30, 2008

Spain won a tournament. That would have sounded so weird some time ago, but it was about time! Though I'm still a bit pissed about Holland losing their pace, when they they were so good in the first round.
posted by ersatz at 4:52 PM on June 30, 2008

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