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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 30, 2008

After 44-year wait Spanish media revel in triumph

MADRID, June 30 (Reuters) - The Spanish media revelled in their side's impressive Euro 2008 final victory over Germany as the story dominated the front pages of every newspaper on Monday.

'We are the Champions' sang sports dailies Marca and AS who had colour wrap-round front pages, with captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas lifting the trophy.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres grabbed the only goal of the game in Vienna on Sunday for Spain to win only their second major trophy, 44 years after winning the European Championship on home turf in 1964.

The media praised the side's team spirit and the way different figures had stepped forward throughout the tournament to lead the side to victory, proving their strength in depth.

'David Villa was the protagonist against Russia and Sweden. Xabi Alonso rose above the rest against Greece. Iker Casillas reappeared in all his splendor against Italy,' Marca said.

'Cesc Fabregas established himself against Russia and this time the glory went to Torres.'

Coach Luis Aragones, who is stepping down and appears set to join Turkish side Fenerbahce, was credited with having forged that unity.

Although his substitutions have been questioned in some quarters of the media, he was championed for having stuck to his guns under intense pressure for leaving out experienced players such as Raul and Santiago Canizares, and for going with youth.

'Aragones has been the hero, the savior, the key figure in the success,' wrote daily Sport.

'Now the team is a group in which no one believes they are superior to others. In football, if there isn't harmony in the dressing room and a good spirit in the squad you will be condemned to failure.'

But it was the side's attacking style, based on passing, possession football, that won special praise.

'The best team won the tournament, with a style of football more beautiful than that practised by the rest,' said AS.

'The game the English invented with a strong leg, the long pass, the jump and the finish has evolved over a century and a half. This team is at the apex of this development and has won with a succession of works of art.'

Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was confident the victory was going to be the first of many.

'This is only the start. The best is yet to come. Now we have to go for the World Cup,' he was quoted as saying.

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