The goal that started everything:Spain's Four Year Football Domination



Fri, 30 Jun 2017 - 03:03 GMT


Fri, 30 Jun 2017 - 03:03 GMT

Phillip Lahm (White), Fernando Torres (Red), Jens Lehman (Green) – Courtesy of El Mundo Website

Phillip Lahm (White), Fernando Torres (Red), Jens Lehman (Green) – Courtesy of El Mundo Website

CAIRO – 30 June 2017: Each story has a beginning and the start of this tale goes back to June 29, 2008 in Vienna, Austria.

Spain and Germany were to go head to head in the UEFA European Championship final. The Spanish were seeking to take another European trophy after their last win over the Soviet Union in 1964, while the Germans were looking to be crowned as champions again since the last time they took the crown was in 1996.

The match began with both teams looking for a quick goal in order to get the upper hand in the match. However, it was not until the 33rd minute that Spanish mastermind Xavi made the great pass to Spain’s striker Fernando Torres. Torres would only need two touches to score the goal after receiving the assist from Xavi. The first touch he used was to get passed Lahm while the second enabled him to kick the ball over the German goalkeeper Jens Lehman.

The Germans tried to score the equalizer in the remaining minutes of the match but failed, allowing Spain to once again be crowned champions of the European League. Fernando Torres’ second goal in the tournament wouldn’t be forgotten for long.

The goal unlocked the closed doors for Spain. It showed them that everything was possible. The Spanish team was full of skills, technique and talent, but lacked confidence. Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas once claimed that this goal was a boost for the Spanish team to go and win as much trophies as they could in the next few years. The goal was scored in the final, but it marked the beginning of many successes yet to come for the Spanish team.

Entering the 2010 World Cup as the European Champions and favorites for the tournament grew faith between the Spanish players to achieve another major trophy. The Spanish players entered the tournament with a 1-0 loss against Switzerland. However, having the qualities of the champions they managed to comeback in the tournament and qualify from the group stages. The Spanish players took it step by step in the knock out phase until they reached the final of the World Cup against Netherlands. This time the chances to win the cup for both teams were equal if not higher for Spain.

The Spanish players entered the match looking to repeat their success on a higher scale, with the goal of winning Spain’s first World Cup title. The Netherlands players, however - Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt – thought, why not do something that Cruyff’s generation failed to accomplish and win the Netherlands their first World Cup.

The match began with both teams exchanging several chances to score, but due to the great goalkeepers for the Netherlands, Maarten Stekelenburg, and Spain, Iker Casillas, both teams managed to keep a clean sheet in the 90 minutes.

The match would go into extra-time with both teams looking to score their winning goal before having to go into penalties. It was not until the 116th minute that Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg witnessed a moment of magic after Fabregas passed the ball to Iniesta, with the latter smashing the ball into Stekelenburg’s net making Spain World Cup Champions.

However, Spain’s success didn’t stop after winning the 2010 World Cup. The 2012 UEFA European Championship saw the Spaniards reach their maximum level. They entered the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Italy, but they later went on to beat the Republic of Ireland 4-0 before having another victory against Croatia which qualified them to the next round.

Spain went on in the knockout stages by beating France, the runners up of the 2006 World Cup, by a 2-0 victory. In the semi-finals, Spain managed to beat Portugal 4-2 in penalties after having a 0-0 draw. This victory meant that Spain would face the Italians in the final.

Spain entered the final considered to be a dominant force at the time having a great midfield that outplayed everyone. Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, and Xavi were like the Bermuda triangle and if any player entered this triangle they would be completely outplayed and disappear from the pitch. Xabi Alonso and Xavi saw chances from thin air, chances that wouldn’t exist if these two were not on the pitch.

On the flanks they had two skilled wingers which were Iniesta and David Silva, behind them came Cesc Fabregas in the middle as a false 9 striker. Spain won 4-0 against Italy in the finals without playing any striker. The six players that played upfront were midfielders who completely mesmerized the Italian defense. The Italians, known for their strong defense in football,were considered amateur in front of Spain’s attacking force at the final.

The UEFA Euro 2012 ended and with it was the end of the Span’s four-year domination in football.The goal that was scored by Torres in the Euro 2008 final was the beginning of a dream that came true for the Spaniards. It paved for them the road to embark on a new journey that was full of success and glory.

Among this Spanish football generations was Iker Casillias, Xabi Alonso, David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos.



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