Spain: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Marchena,
Capdevila; Marcos Senna; Iniesta, Xavi, Fábregas (Xabi Alonso 63'),
David Silva (Cazorla 66'); Fernando Torres (Güiza 78'). 4-1-4-1.
Germany: Lehmann; Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm (Jansen 46'); Frings, Hitzlsperger (Kuranyi 58'); Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Podolski; Klose (Mario Gómez 79'). 4-2-3-1.
1-0. 33. Torres. Got between Lahm and Lehmann to clip Xavi pass past keeper.
Spain are European champions! A single goal from Fernando Torres with just over half an hour on the clock was enough to give "la selección" their first European title since 1964!
Luis Aragonés stuck to the line up which had been so successful throughout the tournament, the only change being Cesc Fábregas for the injured David Villa. They were up against a fearful opponent though, the experienced Germany, a bigger more powerful side who were grateful that their captain Ballack was able to play after passing a late fitness test. And for the first few minutes the Germans were on top, with Ballack and Klose causing some problems for Casillas and his defence.
Spain finally got into gear though, and Lehmann did well to keep out a deflection from his own defender Metzelder on the quarter hour mark. Fernando Torres headed a Sergio Ramos cross against the foot of the post, and Capdevila and Fábregas both tried their luck with long range efforts.
With just over half an hour on the clock though Spain got what was to prove the only goal of the game, Torres running on to Xavi's threaded pass to shrug off a challenge from Lahm and clip the ball over the advancing keeper. A VIP box full of dignitaries leapt to their feet, and Spain were on their way!
Silva fired a couple of efforts wide either side of half time, but Germany started to get back in the game, Ballack in particular shooting just wide of the mark. Aragonés reacted quickly though bringing on Xabi Alonso for Fábregas and then Cazorla for Silva, who was lucky to be still on the park after he appeared to head-butt Podolski as the two squared up to each other in a moment of tension.
The changes though did the trick, and Spain regained the momentum. Lehmann had to be at his best to turn a powerful header from Ramos round the post following a Xavi free kick, and Frings blocked Iniesta's shot on the line from the resulting corner. And just a minute later Lehmann scrambled the ball away after Iniesta was allowed to shoot from close range as the Spanish ballplayers dazzled the German defence.
There was still only one goal in it though, and although Senna and Xavi could both have added to the lead, everybody was on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.
Finally though Italian referee Roberto Rosetti called it a day, and Spain were champions. As the players collected their trophies, Sergio Ramos paid tribute to his deceased colleague Antonio Puerta and Palop pulled on the jersey of his hero Arconada, picking up his medal from Platini who scored the winning goal for France against the goalkeeper in Spain's last final appearance 24 years ago. This was their day though, and the perennial under-achievers had finally laid all the ghosts and come of age.
So there we have it, an exciting young side who play as a team (pundits couldn't decide who was their best player, there were so many!) with a shining future ahead of them. They will have to do it though without their mentor, Vicente Del Bosque taking over the mantel from Luis Aragonés who has called it a day after four hard years of ups and downs. As they say in Spain though, he leaves by the big door, returning to club football after accepting a new challenge with Turkish side Fenerbahçe. We wish him all the best!