Without a doubt the Spanish national futbol team so clearly deserved their European Championship. They hadn’t lost in 15 straight matches coming into this tournament; that streak now stands at 21. Spain scored the most goals and allowed the fewest of any of the sixteen participants over the last 22 days of Euro 2008 – and not one single one in the knockout stage. The attack got all the accolades but it was the defense that did all the legwork and should get a lion’s share of the credit. While Fernando Torres, David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Alonso, David Silva and Iker Casillas will certainly get all the accolades, arguably the most important player for Spain this entire tournament was the player in front of the backline who performed the most pedestrian tasks but was absolutely indispensable, defensive/holding midfielder Marcos Senna (more proof that without a doubt a reliable player at this position is imperative).
For 44 years Spain has entered every international tournament with world-class talent and the expectation to compete as a serious threat but have always been an enigma that has under-achieved and figured out a way to screw it up before they should have. This tournament was no exception. And despite their bona-fides coming into the final we all thought this would be no different, that even facing a German side with such a porous defense Murphy’s Law would kick in and something would conspire to keep Spain from a championship. It didn’t happen. Now their label as classic and perennial under-achievers has been forever removed. That monkey no longer on their backs, Spain can now be considered credible threats to win any tournament they enter from this day on.
So many times in so many sports competitions you are left with the feeling that the person or team that eventually won was not the best team, that there were better teams or players who just didn’t do enough to raise that trophy. Not this time. There is no question that the best team over the last 22 days won the international championship they so obviously deserved.