The much talked about Russian team came crashing back to earth on a damp in Vienna as Spain comfortably beat them 3-0 to set up an interesting Euro 2008 final with Germany on Sunday. Spain who were led by an inspired performance by Cesc Fabregas scored three second-half goals to reach the final for the first in 24 years.
“This team is already making history, but we can do even more,” striker Fernando Torres said. “We’re proud of reaching the final, and against Germany on top of it all, which is a great rival.”
Spain will face Germany on Sunday without the tournament’s leading scorer David Villa, who pulled a muscle in the first half against Russia and was replaced by Cesc Fabregas.
Sunday’s final shapes up to be a good one as both teams can score goals and neither defense is overly strong. The German full-backs were run ragged by the Turks on Wednesday and this has to be an area that Spain will look to exploit. Jens Lehmann in goal for Germany has not looked safe at all, and the four goals he has let in during the knock out rounds would worry me I was a German fan.
On the flip side, Germany has scored 6 goals in its last two games and 10 in the tournament. In Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Michael Ballack, Germany is not short on dangerous attacking players who can cause damage as long as they don’t spend half their time panicking about how to protect that miserable backline. Michael Ballack is back to his best form and the height of the Germans will cause the Spanish defense some problems on Sunday.
The one area of weakness for the Spanish defense appears to be from crosses and set plays and this is a strength of the Germans. Look for Germany to get at least one goal from a set play or cross on Sunday.
Cup finals are notoriously hard to predict because you never know if the fear of losing overcomes the willingness to be adventurous. I am hoping that Sunday’s Euro 2008 matches the excitement and drams that the tournament has provided and expect to see Spain win by the odd goal, 2-1 or 3-2.