After 3 weeks of a fantastic soccer tournament, the 2008 Austria-Switzerland European Championships is coming to an end with a game worthy of the tournament’s long history. Spain and Germany will meet in Vienna for the final game to claim the trophy for themselves. This is going to be a soccer fan’s dream final game. There are not going to be any outsiders in this game but two traditional soccer powers both of which have played great soccer during the last 3 weeks to make it this far in the tournament. Predictions are difficult to make but we can easily talk about previous meetings between the two.

First, let me point out that Germany have won the Euro 3 times in the past 1972, 1980, and 1996; Germany also played in the final games in 1976 and 1992 but didn’t win. Interestingly, in 1992 Germany lost to underdogs Denmark who were called back from their vacation to replace Yugoslavia barred from playing in the Euro due to the ongoing war taking place in the region. Spain have won it once in 1964 and also made an appearance at the 1984 final game losing to France in Paris.

The story so far this year paints Spain the favorite to win the final match. The Spaniards have cruised to the final not just undefeated so far in the tournament but only counting victories on their behalf. They managed to beat Russia twice with an aggregate 7-1 score while they also crashed defending champions Greece while using their reserves! Germany, on the other hand, have made it to the final in a less convincing manner. They barely defeated co-hosts Austria with the poor 1-0 score from a Ballack free kick and also had to score in injury time to beat Turkey in the semi-final game a few days ago. Germany allowed 2 goals in their game against Turkey who could barely field a competitive team due to player injuries and suspensions. The German team will have to raise their game considerably if they want to have a chance against the speedy and talented Spanish squad.

So, who do I think will win the 2008 Euro? It is hard to make a prediction and so I will simply quote Ken Bates who once said,

“I never make forecasts, but whoever wins that game will win the final.”

That said, I placed a $10 bet on Spain.


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