v Spain, 2008 European Championship Final
v Spain, Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Wien (European Championship Final) 29.06.2008
– / Torres 33.
Germany’s last-minute winner against Turkey would take them in a record sixth European Championship final, where they would play Spain who had made their first tournament showpiece since 1984 when they finished runners-up to hosts France. While Jogi Löw’s side had to fight hard to make to the final showpiece in Vienna, the Spaniards had come to the boil nicely in dispatching a good Russian side 3-0. On form alone, Luis Aragonés’ side would be slight favourites.
The two teams had met five times in the final stages of major tournaments, with the Germans winning three times and the Spaniards once. There had been two previous first-phase encounters in the European Championships: in 1984 Spain had secured a dramatic last-minute 1-0 win in Paris that had helped eliminate Jupp Derwall’s side at the first hurdle, while four years later Franz Beckenbauer’s team had triumped 2-0 in Munich. In addition to these three games the two teams had also met in 1976 – before the era of the eight-team final tournament – with the Nationalmannschaft winning 3-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in Madrid and a 2-0 win in Munich.
Jogi Löw would keep the same side and 4-2-3-1 formation that had beaten Turkey in Basel, with just one change as the fit-again Torsten Frings returned in place of Simon Rolfes. The team would be boosted further by the fact that skipper Michael Ballack had been passed fit after having been doubtful with a calf injury, as well as the fact that the Spaniards would have to do with without their leading scorer David Villa who had been forced to withdraw with a thigh strain.
Despite the fact that the two host countries had long since been eliminated, the atmosphere in Vienna’s Ernst-Happel-Stadion was electric, with large number of German supporters having made their way across the border to be among the 51,428 crowd. Germany were in their familiar black and white Trikot and the Spaniards in their equally famous red and blue, and at a quarter to nine on what was a very pleasant Viennese evening Italian referee Roberto Rosetti got things under way.
Germany: Lehmann – Friedrich, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Lahm (46. Jansen) – Frings, Hitzlsperger (58. Kurányi) – Schweinsteiger, Ballack (c), Podolski – Klose (79. Gómez)
Spain: Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Marchena, Puyol, Capdevila – Senna – Silva (66. Cazorla), Fàbregas (63. Xabi Alonso), Xavi, Iniesta – Torres (78. Güiza)
Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)
Assistants: Alessandro Griselli (Italy), Paolo Calcagno (Italy)
Fourth Official: Peter Fröjdfeldt (Sweden)
Yellow Cards: Ballack, Kurányi / Casillas, Torres
Red Cards: – / –