Spain beats Germany on Chef Fernando Torres’ Roast Lahm

For the first time in 44 years, La Furia Roja lay their hands on a major trophy by besting the mighty Germans 1-0 in the Euro2008 final. The lone score came on a Fernando Torres strike in which he torched German defender Philip Lahm (right)

Here’s another shot, ball goes in the goal…
Reuters

This was the first Euro final I’ve watched since the 1984 contest between France and Spain. Since I had not caught any of the previous Euro2008 matches (no cable), I was pretty pumped to sit down in front of the telly to watch this one.

Some observations after the jump…

Pre-match:
When it comes to their respective national anthems, ze Germans seem to know theirs whereas the Spaniards do not. I say this because hardly any of the Spaniards sang La Marcha Real, whereas the German players were belting Das Deutschlandlied. [I stand corrected thanks to Andrew, see comment below… oops]

What other sport can draw heads of state to their big matches? King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain were both in attendance, as well as kaffiyah-wearing (see below) Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was representing, alas President Bush was not there to do this.

Back to the players, them German boys are physical specimens, the shortest guy (Lahm) is 5’7″. That height automatically makes you the goalie on the Mexican national squad. Their centerback (Per Mertesacker) is 6’5″ and as far as the rest of the German side, they all seemed to tower over Spanish goalie Iker Casillas. I liked how the ABC men dubbed this game “The overachievers [Germans] v. The underachievers [Spanish]” They have it backwards, given the physical superiority of the Germans, the fact that they don’t win every game makes them underachievers.

The German team made think of what Team USA would look like if this country’s best athletes played soccer. The Spaniards were definitely outsized though of course not in heart.

First Half:
It started out slow though it became apparent that Spanish striker Fernando Torres (El Niño) was going to be a problem for the German back line, and he was. He almost scored on an aerial ball by outleaping the 6’5″ Mertesacker and bouncing off the header of the German right post. However…

He struck for good in the 33rd minute. He used his speed and strength to explode past defender Lahm and managed to tap the ball in right before German keeper Jens Lehmann was able to interfere. I knew this guy was good, but the qualities that make him a world-striker were evident when the goal was replayed in slo-mo. The look on El Niño‘s face as he raced to the ball was the picture of determination and willpower, it’s as if he knew he was going to score. The whole way his eyes were bored in on the ball. Once one gets past the man’s emo hair, he is without question one of the best strikers in the world.

Spanish defender Sergio Ramos is a beast, dude spent more time on Germany’s side of the field than Germany’s keeper did, and oh by the way he’s a wall on D and is barely old enough to order a cocktail.

I know that Tom Clancy wrote in Red Storm Rising that no one presses the counterattack “better than the Krauts” but today, Spain put on a counterattack clinic. Even towards the end of the match, with the score only 1-0 and when most teams would protect the lead (play “prevent” defense), the Spaniards pressed the counterattack to the limit, coming close to adding a couple of cherry-on-top score.

As the first half drew to a Klose (as in German striker Miroslav Klose who should win an Academy Award for his portryal of the Invisible Man), I couldn’t help but think that my beloved Tri will never win a World Cup. The level of play Spain and Germany showed in the first half far exceeds anything I’ve seen from México, I know that may qualify as treason but us Mexicans have a way of being myopic about reality.

Second half:
55th minute, Torres almost scores on an almost identical play to the goal. This time though he torched the towering Per Mertesacker. You want to know how good Torres was? In the history of German football, not one of their defenders has ever broken a sweat during a match. They’re machines, that went for the legendary Lothar Matthäus as well as Der Kaiser, Franz Beckenbauer. Torres had old boy (Mertesacker) drenched after the first 15 minutes of the match. Poor Per came back after halftime with a new jersey (I presume) only to find himself a sorry drenched mess after a few minutes into the second half. There is not enough Climacool in those Adidas jerseys I guess, that’s how good Torres is.

If head ref Roberto Rosetti were an NBA official, Commissioner Stern would have to explain to NBA fans why games are 6 hours long. I guess Signore Rosetti doesn’t know what prison rules are…

58′ The world finds out about motivational guru Tony Robbins’ new career: Striker for the German National Team as he replaces Thomas Hitzlsperger.

59′ German captain Michael Ballack almost scores after a gaffe by Spanish defender Carles Puyol. This is as close as the Germans got to equalizing. The play gave Chancellor Merkel her ya merito moment.

66′ Sergio Ramos, as previously noted, was all over the field and almost scores on a header off a free kick. Basically the entire German side is in to defend against 2 Spaniards and Ramos gets a clean shot at goal. However, Lehmann’s deflected showing that he’s not as washed up as most people think. ABC’s color analyst said this in exasperation, “What are the Germans thinking of? They might as well hand them the goal!” So much for objectivity…

69′ German defender Marcell Jansen earns a free kick by flopping in such a manner as to make Manu Ginobili and every Euro NBAer (I’m looking at you Vlade) jealous. Jansen deserved the free kick for his thespian skills alone.

The look on Spanish keeper Iker Casilla’s face before German set plays reminds me of a scene from Lord of the Rings. You know when the riders of Rohan see those giant elephants? Casillas did a superb job of imitating it.

81′ Senna demonstrates why he doesn’t play for his native country, Brazil, he totally whiffed in front of an open net! By this point the Germans have given up. Yeah the Germans, masters of survival, masters of the counterattack, masters of ripping out the hearts of their opponent’s fanbase seem resigned to their fate of not winning any major titles in a decade.

89′ 3 minutes of stoppage time, these will be the longest 3 minutes in Spanish history since La Noche Triste… well maybe not the way the Germans have faded.

93′ Game Over, Michael Ballack becomes the Jim Kelly of European sport. Spain finally wins something that matters within the realm of professional football, but in case they forgot they were Spain…

Post-Game:
Trophy Presentation: Ironically enough, the man who ripped Spain’s heart out back in the Euro ’84 final, French great Michel Platini, now the president of UEFA, gets to hand Spanish captain Iker Casillas the trophy.

Here’s a pic of Platini in ’84 after his France beat Spain 2-0 to claim their first Euro Cup ( is that Bill Maher’s dad to his right?)

And here’s a pic of Spanish captain, Iker Casillas holding the 2008 trophy,
AP

It can be truly said that the better team won today, congrats to the Mother Country on their European championship, now if only México could even sniff going deep into a World Cup held outside its own porous borders…

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7 Responses to Spain beats Germany on Chef Fernando Torres’ Roast Lahm

  1. Andrew Heyward says:

    Really liked the article and the title. But, just letting you know, La Marcha Real has no lyrics. It’s not that the Spanish players didnt know what to sing, there isn’t anything to sing.

  2. Laz says:

    Andrew,

    I stand corrected.

    Thanks for the clarification and the comment. Did you have any rooting interest in the game?

  3. Andrew Heyward says:

    Yes, I have been a fan of the Spanish side for years. It’s been a pretty masochistic love until now, but redemption is sweet.

  4. Laz says:

    One wonders if they’re going to parlay this into success in South Africa 2010…

    As for masochistic love, I know how that goes cheering for my beloved Tri

  5. Yes, Spain definitely has some fierce players in Torres and Ramos. I hope the action from Euro 08 means we are up for some good games in 2010!

    I can agree with you about Mexico though…I would love to see them do well in the World Cup…heck, I would love to see the USA team do well.

  6. Santito says:

    It’s obvious you are gringo.

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