Olé, Olé Olé Olé! Euro 08 - What an amazing three weeks of soccer. And, in the end, the best team definitely won. The Spaniards--who have been on fire all tournament long, and who finished undefeated, with six straight wins--clearly deserved to hoist the cup yesterday after their 1-0 victory over Germany.
Really, the score should have been more like 3-0 or 4-0. Aside from a 15-minute spell in the second half, it was all Spain. And what a beautiful goal by Fernando Torres, too.
It may not have been the best game of the tournament, but it was still a great display of attacking soccer, one which I'm sure any fan could most certainly enjoy.
Well, aside from German fans, perhaps. But the Germans were lucky just to be in the final after being totally outplayed and outclassed by the Turks in their semi-final on Wednesday.
I came into the tournament cheering for Holland, France and the Czechs, but how could anyone argue with the terrific all-round play of Spain? Soccer doesn't get much better than the way they played it over the past three weeks.
It was one of the best major tournaments - World Cups and European Championships - I've seen since 1990.
There were some amazing games in this tournament, such as Holland's 3-0 victory over Italy, Spain's 4-1 defeat of Russia, Holland's 4-1 thrashing of France, Turkey's incredible 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Czechs, Germany's 3-2 quarter-final win over Portugal, and Germany's exciting-but-undeserved 3-2 semi-final defeat of Turkey. And those were just the best games. Many others were quite entertaining as well.
Overall, it was simply an elevated level of play all around. Really, there was only one very boring game throughout the entire tournament, Romania and France's terribly disappointing 0-0 tie. And with 23 out of the 31 games featuring at least two goals and only two 0-0 games all tournament long, it was undoubtedly one of the most exciting and attacking-minded tournaments of the past few decades.
Also, diving was way down from the past couple of tournaments, while sportsmanship seemed to be on the way up. Especially nice was the fact that this time around my favourite player didn't headbutt anyone to finish the tournament, and his career, in disgrace. Best of all, the championship was won on the field, not with one of those dreaded penalty shootouts.
With teams as exciting as Spain, Portugal, Holland and, tournament surprise, Russia putting on brilliant displays of entertaining and attacking soccer, any fan would agree this was one hell of a great tournament. And, hey, let's not forget the Turks, a team that turned the end of every game into an amazingly dramatic spectacle.
So, way to go Spain and let's just hope that attacking soccer succeeds in future tournaments. It’s less than two years to go until the World Cup kicks off in South Africa; whoever wins there, I hope they play the game as beautifully as Spain.
Mike Cowie is a writer currently embarked on a book about his three-year trip across Asia with his wife, Sonoko. Read more of Mike’s views on his website.