Germany 0 Spain 1 (predicted: 1-2)
It could have been a far greater margin in the end but there is no doubt that the most deserving side won it.
Germany started brightly and only for Klose and Podolski losing their nerve on seperate occasions in the Spanish box we may have had a very different game on our hands. The Germans passed the ball well and were impressive early on but once they failed to make a breakthrough Spain found their groove.
Irish pundit Eamonn Dunphy was vociferous in his believe that Germany hadn’t got a prayer and he based this on two facts – they have only one top class player and their central defence was shambolic. This turned out to be the case as Fernando Torres ran Metzelder and Mertesacker ragged. Neither had the pace or nous to deal with the striker.
It was, however, uncertainty between left-back Phillip Lahm and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann who let Torres in for what turned out to be the winning goal as he outwitted Lahm and nicked the ball over Lehmann. Spain never looked back after that and Germany’s only period of hope was in the five minutes after Kuranyi came on for Hitzlsperger in the second half.
Germany were poor and totally outclassed. Klose was isolated and Podolski didn’t seem to have the belief that he could cause the Spanish the problems he caused against some of the lesser sides earlier in the tournament. Unlike the Jurgen Klinsmann-led side in 2006, the German mentality didn’t look strong enough to overcome the odds this time around.
A great moment for the Spanish and football in general.
From my point of view a tournament without England, Ireland or any of the “home nations” was a blessing in disguise. There was no hype and none of the usual tabloid sensationalism or xenophobia that we’re so used to.
Here are my shortlists for best players of the tournament.
Best goalkeeper: Ikar Casillas (Spain)
Right-back: Jose Bosingwa (Portugal)
Left-back: Phillip Lahm (Germany)
Center backs: Pepe (Portugal), Carlos Marchena (Spain)
Right-wing: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
Left-wing: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands),
Central midfielders: Xavi Hernandez (Spain), Senna (Spain)
Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Fernando Torres (Spain)
Goalkeepers: Artur Boruc (Poland), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Defenders: Robert Kovac (Croatia), Cristian Chivu (Romania)
Midfielders: Darijo Srna (Croatia), Hamit Altintop (Turkey), Mauro Camoranesi (Italy), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia)
Forwards: Hakan Yakin (Switzerland), Robin van Persie (Netherlands), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands)
Back to domestic football now … phew …