Spain claimed their first major title for 44 years after winning Euro 2008 with a deserved victory over Germany.
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was Spain’s goal hero, striking after
33 minutes when he cleverly lifted Xavi’s pass over Germany keeper Jens
Spain dominated the final throughout, with Torres heading against the
post and Marcos Senna almost adding a second from close range after 80
Michael Ballack came close for Germany, shooting narrowly wide after the break.
Spain have long had a reputation as under-achievers on the big
occasions, but this was a richly-merited victory for veteran coach Luis
Aragones and a team that played outstanding football throughout the
Germany were outclassed, and for captain Ballack his catalogue of
misery in major finals continues having lost two Champions League
finals and also been suspended for the 2002 World Cup final when they
lost to Brazil.
Match-winner Torres enhanced the reputation he forged at Liverpool last
season, but this was an all-round effort for a side that is young
enough to already be marked down among the favourites for the 2010
World Cup in South Africa.
Germany were lifted by Ballack declaring himself fit after a calf
injury – but he had little impact on a first 45 minutes in which Spain
were the vastly-superior side.
Andres Iniesta almost created the opening goal for Spain in the 13th
minute when his driven cross took a deflection off Christoph Metzelder,
but Lehmann pulled off a fine reflex save.
And they came even closer nine minutes later when Torres rose to meet
Sergio Ramos’s cross, but his header bounced to safety off the post.
But he was not to be denied and put Spain ahead with a trademark piece of sharpness in front of goal after 33 minutes.
Xavi’s pass created uncertainty for Germany defender Philipp Lahm and
Torres shrugged him off the ball to lift a superb finish beyond
Germany’s problems threatened to worsen when Ballack needed lengthy
treatment for an eye wound after a clash of heads with Marcos Senna.
David Silva then wasted a perfect opportunity to double Spain’s
advantage when he was set up by Iniesta, but he rushed his finish and
shot wildly over the top.
Germany made a change at half-time, sending on Marcell Jansen for Lahm, but it was still Spain who dominated.
Xavi and Silva were both off target – but Germany were sticking to
their task and almost grabbed an equaliser when Ballack shot just wide
after Carles Puyol had conceded possession in a dangerous area.
Spain continued to look the more threatening side, but there was still
the lingering prospect of Germany’s refusal to accept defeat yielding
an unlikely equaliser.
Silva was fortunate to stay on the pitch when he appeared to motion
to head-butt Germany’s Lukas Podolski, but Italian referee Roberto
Rosetti decided against taking any action.
Ramos should have put the game beyond Germany’s reach after 66 minutes
when he headed straight at Lehmann from point-blank range as he got on
the end of Xavi’s free-kick.
Iniesta then had a shot cleared off the line by Torsten Frings and
another effort saved by Lehmann as Spain looked in the mood to add a
And Germany had a remarkable escape after 80 minutes when substitute
Daniel Guiza – on for Torres – headed the ball straight into Senna’s
path right in front of goal, but he could not apply the final touch.
Spain were not made to pay for their generosity in front of goal and ran out worthy winners.
Germany: Lehmann, Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm
(Jansen 46), Hitzlsperger (Kuranyi 58), Frings, Podolski, Ballack,
Schweinsteiger, Klose (Gomez 79).
Subs Not Used: Enke, Adler, Fritz, Westermann, Rolfes, Neuville, Trochowski, Borowski, Odonkor.
Booked: Ballack, Kuranyi.
Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila,
Senna, Iniesta, Fabregas (Alonso 63), Xavi, Silva (Santi Cazorla 66),
Torres (Guiza 78).
Subs Not Used: Palop, Reina, Albiol, Fernando Navarro, Villa, Sergio Garcia, Arbeloa, Juanito, De la Red.
Booked: Casillas, Torres.
Goals: Torres 33.
Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).