Spain crowned European champions


                                                                                  Photo by ISIphotos.com

On the strength of a stingy defense, quick and skillful midfield and a wonderful finish from Fernando Torres, Spain is the new European Champion.

It was definitely refreshing to watch a team win a tournament by playing beautiful attacking soccer and not by turning the game into a defensive-oriented bore-fest. Spain’s win, and the Euro 2008 tournament as a whole, helped restore the faith in soccer fans worldwide that the beautiful game can still be beautiful.

Yes, that’s right, I picked Spain to win. I’ll share my story on when I first decided to go with Spain tomorrow, but I’ll add this correct prediction to my Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002 correct predictions (If only I could go back in time and stop myself from changing my World Cup 2006 pick on deadline).

With the Euros now behind us, we can turn our attentions to the 2010 World Cup and start thinking about who will be favored for that tournament. Yes, it’s still two years away, but considering how young a team Spain has, it’s tough not to like their chances as a favorite right now along with the likes of Argentina and the Netherlands.

Share your thoughts on today’s Euro final below.

  • Marquez_sucks

    Spain has been considered a ‘favorite’ at every tournament in memory, despite their constant disappointments. That’s going to increase tenfold now that they’ve actually won something. Problem is, no European team has ever won a World Cup not hosted in Europe. South American teams have won every WC hosted outside Europe, which I think makes Argentina the front runner.


  • J

    It was a great game to watch. The announcers were outstanding. Overall a great day for soccer.

    Maybe someday we can have a western hemisphere championship. It would be nice.


  • Karl

    Germany played uninspired football they did not deserve to win. Great tournament over all though. Turkey was a great suprise.


  • Kris

    Yep, great call on Spain, Ives. I totally biffed that call in the comments on your predictions thread saying they’d bust. I did get the other 3 semi finalists right through :).

    Overall, congrats Spain. You deserved the win and the championship.


  • sean

    i got the score and scorer right in the prediction thread earlier today (back when everyone was saying 3-2 and 3-1)


  • MemRook

    I’m just excited to see my country of birth finally win some sh*t! Hats off, hats off.


  • Willie yo

    The comparison is perhaps too much a stretch to make much of, but it does make me wonder….. One of Spain’s last warm-up matches was against the USMNT. US lost 0-1. They held the Spanish creativity pretty well in check. I am not saying the US could have won the game (we need consistent scorers for that to be said), nor am I saying that the match was even considered much more then the friendly that it was for Spain, but it does make me reconsider the US loss.


  • Peter Bering

    It bears repeating that friendlies are in no way a measure of anything at all. Friendlies are used for testing plays, players, pairings, formations, rhytm etc etc and injuries are to be avoided at all costs. Eventual champions have often drawn boringly against lowly opposition before raising their game steadily through the tournaments. The point is never results in friendlies, but how a team plays against the best when it counts. And that is only visible in 5 tournaments: Euros, African Cups, Copa Americas, Asian Cups and WCs. The hysterically named “Gold Cup” should of course be merged into the Copa America, as it has but marginal value on its own. FIFA rankings are mostly redundant, as only the cups show the best at their best.


  • Steven C.

    Anyone else kinda sad to see the tournament end? That was a great few weeks there of coming home and watching the games on DVR. Oh well.

    I really hope ESPN gets Andy Gray to do some more games… please. He’s hilarious.


  • Tom

    Steven: Yes, I had that same feeling as I finally switched off the TV yesterday — I literally said out loud, to an empty room, “Wow, what a great, amazing three weeks.” And when I woke up this morning I realized I already felt kind of nostalgic and sentimental about it all.

    Ahh well. Two years from this moment we will be smack in the middle of the World Cup!


  • Pete

    Favorites for 2010:

    1. Argentina

    2. Brazil

    3. Spain

    4. Portugal

    5. Germany

    The South American powerhouses take spots 1 and 2 because the tournament is in Africa. Spain is an obvious third choice. Portugal gets number 4 because it has a decently solid (Germany match not withstanding) backline who will still be in their prime, along with the current best player in the world.

    The fifth spot was much more difficult. Germany gets it because no matter what their team looks like they always find a way to win, and Ballack is entering his final international tournament, at least as THE superstar on the squad. I leave off the Dutch because I don’t believe in their defense, just as I didn’t before this tournament began. We still have to see how Italy and France incorporate younger players into their respective sides and how those players develop. I think Croatia is interesting, especially with Eduardo coming back, although you never know how he will actually be after such a catastrophic injury. And England? Well, let’s see them qualify first before they can even be mentioned as favorites of anything.


  • Josh

    Spain deserved to win, and while Ballack gets flack for not leading his team to the final, he and Schweinsteiger were pretty much the only two Germans who had any business being on the same field as Spain. Spain finally lived up to their talent, and they’re scary good–I’m not a Spain fan, but I hope they keep in up in 2010.


  • David Berger

    That was the definition of a 1-0 blowout. Spain should have won 2-0 or 3-0. They were far and away better than Germany. I was surprised by some of the turnovers Germany made on their own half of the field.


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