Germany - Spain 0:1 (0:1)

Match Number: 	808
Date:		29-June-2008
Location:	Vienna, Austria
Competition:	Euro 2008 - Final

A. Friedrich, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Lahm (46. Jansen)
Frings, Hitzlsperger (58. Kuranyi), Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Podolski
Klose (79. Gomez)

Ramos, Marchena, Puyol, Capdevila
Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas (63. Xabi Alonso), Silva (66. Cazorla)
Torres (78. Giza)

0:1 Torres (33.)

Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)
Yellow cards: Ballack, Kuranyi - Casillas, Torres

Attendance: 51,428 (soldout)

Spain defeated Germany 1-0 to deservedly win the title. Most pundits felt that Spain was the favorite, with superior players and technique. And in fact, the final went pretty much to form. While the Spanish defense was rock-solid, hardly allowing any German attacks, the German defense was completely overmatched. Especially the speedy Fernando Torres ran rings around the clumsy, prodding German Abwehr. Especially vulnerable were the central clowns, The M&M's, Metzelder and Mertesacker. They were constantly getting beaten. On the positive side, the two consistently decent German players, Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger had a few good moments. Michael Ballack was largely invisible, although he was decent defending and had one vicious shot blocked by a Spanish defender. GK Jens Lehmann didn't have one of his usual brain-farts and was excellent. Torsten Frings was suitably thuggish and got in a few good thumps. However, despite some moments of pressure, especially when trailing in the 2nd half, it never really looked like Germany would score. Miro Klose revealed his magical powers (he made himself invisble), and when Kevin Kuranyi and Mario Gomez came in, it was clearly comedy hour. So Spain wins a title for the first time since 1964, and no one can say that they weren't the best team. For Germany, they basically played a weaker schedule, but met or exceeded expectations. The team has potential, so maybe this is something they can build on. One thing is that house cleaning is needed. Although it's not as obvious as France, a few of the players probably need to be gone by 2010. Lehmann is obvious, although suitable replacements abound. Notable for his absence was MF Bernd Schneider, who could have been valuable, as the right side was horrible this tournament after Clemens Fritz went down. But Schneider is almost ready for his pension. Klose should probably go to, and Podolski needs to play up front with some oaf like Gomez or Kuranyi, or hopefully somebody else will pop up. The big question is Michael Ballack, who is clearly on the way down, and no replacement in sight. Actually, since the M&M oafs clearly demonstrated that Germany can't play straight back 4, perhaps Germany should move to a sweeper system? Someone has to clean up the mess. Of course, there are no current outstanding sweepers in Germany, but here's a crazy idea: Michael Ballack! He's always been a good defender, is powerful in the air and reads the game well. His declining speed would be less of a factor. And there is a precedence, as Lothar Matthaus started out as an offensive MF as well...
Abseits Guide to German Soccer