by Brian P. Foley, The College Baseball Blog
I will be your host for the 2008 European Championship final today between Germany and Spain in Vienna, Austria which starts at 2:45 pm Eastern time. The Germans enter the final with a record of 4-1 with the only loss coming to Croatia in the group stage. Germany defeated Portugal in an epic quarterfinal game 3-2 and scored an extra time winner in a 3-2 victory in the Semifinal victory over Turkey. Spain on the other hand is 5-0 where they have pretty much steamrolled over the teams in their group, picked up a Penalty shootout victory over Italy in the Quarterfinals, and knocked out Russia in the Semifinals by the scoreline of 3-0.
Both teams are battling some injuries with German captain Michael Ballack coming in with a calf injury but is expected to start while Spain striker and the leading goal scorer in the tourney David Villa is out with a thigh injury.
Germany's starting lineup: Lehmann, Lahm, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Friedrich, Podolski, Frings, Hitzlsperger, Ballack, Schweinsteiger, Klose.
Spain's starting lineup: Casillas, Capdevila, Marchena, Puyol, Sergio Ramos, Iniesta, Senna, Fàbregas, Xavi, Silva, Torres.
A couple of rules on the day. If we have any goals in the game (it might happen) you will get a pic of a Spain or a German hottie (if there is such a thing). I will try to update the thread every free minutes of action.
Of course, I am watching the pregame show and getting a poor feed on my HDTV. I think Charter Communications or ESPN better fix these problems immediately if they don't want me at their headquarters.
Pregame: We are seeing a bunch of balloons getting released in a big pregame ceremony...YAWN! Each set of balloons represent a country in the tournament.
Wow, We have an Enrique Iglesias sighting. A couple of decent dancers with him. I wonder who he is rooting for? I think that is a stupid question since we know he is Spanish. Where is Rammstein for the German music?
Couple of stories to pay attention to in this game is to see how long Michael Ballack can last in this game and this will be Spain's manager Luis Aragones last match before he retires.
The teams are on the pitch as they came out to Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.
Roberto Rosetti will be officiating the game from Italy with his assistants also from Italy.
Kickoff: We are off!!!!
3rd minute: Spain is kicking the ball around with Germany keeping 11 guys behind the ball with very little pressure. Klose steals the ball and gets a semi breakaway but can't get a shot off.
5th minute: Ballack plays a ball onto Lahm down the left wing with a cross that goes out of play. Nice real solid first touch by Ballack.
8th minute: Ballack seems to be fit and causing problems down the wings.
9th minute: Hitzlsperger takes a shot from the top of the box but is very weak and rolls into Casillas' arms.
12th minute: Germany gets the first corner of the game. Schweinsteiger takes it and Casillas easily punches it out.
14th minute: Metzelder nearly puts the ball into his own net but the ball is deflected away by Lehmann to set up a corner which Spain does nothing with.
17th minute: Spain free kick from about 35 yards out. Right into Lehman's hands.
19th minute: Torres beats Metzelder to the ball and gets fouled about 10 yards from the endline setting up a free kick. Torress heads the free kick over the net and MY HD HAS FROZE for like 3 seconds. I think it is the Cable company.
23rd minute: Sergio Ramos floats a ball into the box and Torres heads the ball off the post. Closest chance yet.
25th minute: Podolski gets a corner for Germany but is cleared by Spain but Schweinsteiger puts the ball back in and Ballack gets a foot to it and is blocked by the Spanish defense. As they bring the ball down the field Torres nearly steals the ball from Lehman but the game stays tied.
27th minute: Game seems to be opening up some with good end to end action. Hopefully this pace continues.
30th minute: Torres continues to get 1 v 1 against German defenders which might end up costing them soon since Torres is one of the best strikers in the world.
33rd minute: As I just said that Torres was getting 1 v 1...He chips the ball over Lehmann after beating Lahm to the ball. Great finish. SPAIN 1 GERMANY 0
39th minute: Ballack is bleeding a ton and just got sent off because he needs to get rid of the blood. Ballack is doing a ton of late challenges and needs to stop these cheapshots.
41st minute: Ballack is back on now after being patched up. Spain needs to hold off Germany here as the Deutchland are pressing and around the Spanish box.
43rd minute: Ballack does a late challenge and gets Yellow carded finally with Cassillas after a little pushing and shoving.
HALFTIME: Pretty wild open game with Spain leading 1-0. Germany doesn't look that good today. The offensive flow just isn't there right now and they need to get it together if they hope to win the title.
46th minute: WE ARE OFF!! Germany has taken Lahm out of the game. It has to be an injury.
49th minute: Frings gets into some trouble right in front of his own box but the Ref bails him out. Spain is sitting back and looking to counter attack now.
51st minute: Klose has the wind knocked out of him and comes off for a few minutes. He will be back on.
54th minute: Spain has a corner, David Silva gets the ball at the top of the box and Sergio Romos just misses a tap in goal. Ball goes out for a goal kick.
58th minute: Hitzlsperger comes out for Kuranyi.
60th minute: Ballack just misses a goal from the top of the box to tie up the game. Germany is starting to control possession.
61st minute: Casillas gets a finger to the ball to save a goal scoring oppurtunity for the Germans. Schweinsteiger is the best German player on the pitch. (Got to love the Futbol language.)
64th minute: Alonso comes on for Fabregas for the first Spain sub.
65th minute: A little flare up on the field with Podolski getting into a Spain players face and gets a little headbutt but the ref doesn't see it.
66th minute: Cazorla comes on for David Silva for the Spanish squad.
67th minute-69th minute: Sergio Ramos gets a cracking header on goal but it is right at Lehman. The ensuing corner kick and Innesia hits is right off the post. Innesia continues to be buzzing around the net with another shot on Lehaman.
74th minute: Torres gets booked for a clash of head. No reason to get a Yellow card.
77th minute: Still 1-0 here...Not much action. Germany needs to start taking some chances now.
78th minute: WE HAVE A WEATHER ALERT IN MY LOCATION....I AM MISSING THE GAME!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!! I CAN SEE OUTSIDE AND IF I NEED A WEATHER UPDATE I CAN SEE!!!! GET ME BACK TO THE GAME!!!! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE QUICK!!!
79th minute: While I was gone for a few seconds it looks like Lehmann had a handball which was not called.
82nd minute: Senne just misses a tap in goal inside the 6 yard box.
83rd minute: Spain with a free kick deep in the German zone.
85th minute: Spain starting to control the game with possession. Free kick in a good position for the Spanish.
86th minute: Xavi puts it over the net. It is still 1-0.
87th minute: Germany called for an offside...Not a smart move.
88th minute: Kuranyi is carded for a rough foul. Good call.
90th minute: Germany gets the ball into the box but fouls a Spanish defender.
Extra Time +1: Germany crosses the ball into the box and goes out.
Extra Time +2: Spain kills a minute with possession.
Extra Time +3: SPAIN IS CHAMPS OF EURO 2008. CONGRATS TO THE KINGS OF EUROPE!!
MICHAEL BALLACK CONTINUES TO BE THE PEYTON MANNING OF SOCCER!
I AM OUT!!! THANKS FOR STOPPING BY! I WILL BE YOUR LIVE BLOGGER FOR ANOTHER BIG SPORTING EVENT SOON!
by Brian P. Foley, The College Baseball Blog