Spain wins first major in 44 years

June 29, 2008 1:47:45 PM PDT
Big-game flops no more, Spain won the European Championship 1-0 over Germany on Sunday for its first major title in 44 years. Fernando Torres scored in the 33rd minute and the Spaniards never backed down against such a formidable opponent. Their last significant title came in the 1964 Euros at home.

In beating a team that makes a habit of appearing in championship finals, the Spaniards put to rest a reputation for underachieving. Always loaded with talented players, Spain has spent four decades falling short of expectations.

That all changed at these Euros, where the Spaniards swept their first-round games, eliminated World Cup champion Italy in a penalty-kicks shootout in the quarterfinals, then routed Russia 3-0 in the semifinals.

Against the highly accomplished Germans, they weren't intimidated. They got the one goal they needed - from a slumping striker, no less - and set off chants of "ES-PANA," and "Ole, Ole Ole" at the final whistle.


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