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Thread: Germany vs spain:euro 2008 final

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    - Germany coach Joachim Low must decide whether to recall Torsten Frings for Sunday's Euro 2008 final against Spain.

    The midfielder has declared himself fit after recovering from a broken rib and could replace Simon Rolfes (cut eye) in the only change to the side.

    Spain also look sure to alter their line-up with striker David Villa almost certainly out with a thigh injury.

    That could mean a start for Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas in a five-man midfield, with Fernando Torres the lone striker.

    It was with that side and formation that Spain strolled past Russia 3-0 in Thursday's semi-final and coach Luis Aragones has hinted Fabregas, who set up two of the goals, could start.

    "I know how well he can perform," Aragones said. "I like a player like Cesc, 20-years-old and someone who has acquired the experience of someone who's 27, 28. To us, he's important."

    The Spanish are full of confidence ahead of the final, having turned themselves from "perennial underachievers" to many people's tip to win the final in the course of the tournament.

    Spain may not have won a major honour since 1964 - their victory in that year's European Championship their only title to date - but Liverpool striker Torres believes the side are equipped to go all the way this year.

    "This team is already making history, but we can do even more," he said.

    "Germany know how to win tournaments, they know how to play these games and we know we have be careful because they are the favourites. But we can win it too."

    However, Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff refutes claims his side are favourites, saying: "We have demonstrated what capabilities we possess, but we should put Spain one step above us.

    "That said, this was the case against Portugal (in the quarter-final) as well and it doesn't have to be to our disadvantage."

    And the former striker, whose 'golden goal' against the Czech Republic gave Germany the European title in 1996, hinted Low's side would set out to be hard to break down rather than expansive in attack.

    "Spain control the ball very well and they provide decisive passes," he said. "We will have to play very tightly, double-team a lot and keep the marking close."

    That philosophy was supported by Frings, who said: "We shouldn't let them into the game. We have to be aggressive, we have to step up even as they are receiving the ball.

    "I don't think they like it when you are aggressive against them."


    Germany and Spain have met each other 19 times, and Germany have won eight of these contests, while Spain proved the strongest on five occasions.

    At the World Cup and European Championship, the two teams have played each other five times, with Germany winning three times and Spain having the upper hand only once.

    Spain's only victory in the Europeans was a 1-0 group phase triumph in 1984. Antonio Maceda's legendary injury time header eliminated West Germany, marking the only time until 2000 that (West) Germany were stranded in the group phase of a European Championship finals.

    The last time these two met was a friendly in February 2003, which Spain won 3-1.

    Team facts - Germany

    Germany have qualified for the final of the European Championship for a record sixth time and the first time in 12 years. In 1972, 1980 and 1996, they went on to win the trophy, and on two occasions, in 1976 and 1992, the Germans lost the final against Czechoslovakia and Denmark respectively.

    Team facts - Spain

    Spain have qualified for the final of the European Championship for a third time, following their appearances in 1964 and 1984.

    Spain have lifted the trophy only once in 1964, after beating the Soviet Union 2-1 in the final. In the 1984 final, Spain lost 2-0 against Michel Platini's France.

    Since losing to Romania (0-1) in November 2006, Spain are unbeaten in 21 matches (18 wins and three draws). The Spanish record is 31 and was set between September 1994 and November 1997.

    At the age of 69 years and 337 days, Luis Aragones will become the oldest coach ever to appear in the final of a European Championship. Aragones will be more than four years older than Otto Rehhagel (65 years, 327 days) was four years ago when Greece took on Portugal in the Euro 2004 final.

    Player facts - Germany

    Jens Lehmann can become the oldest player ever to appear in a European Championship final. If he plays, Lehmann's record setting age will be 38 years and 232 days, breaking the record set by Arnold Muhren, who was 37 years and 23 days old when he played for the Netherlands in the 1988 final against the Soviet Union.

    Lukas Podolski (three) will be the biggest threat to keep David Villa (four) from claiming top scorer honours at this European Championship. Ballack, Klose, Schweinsteiger (Germany) and Guiza (Spain) have all scored twice.

    Arsenal (Jens Lehmann, Cesc Fabregas), Real Madrid (Christoph Metzelder, Iker Casillas) and Real Betis (David Odonkor and Juanito) are the three clubs that will provide team mates on both sides of the pitch.

    Kevin Kuranyi can win his 50th cap for Germany. He made his international debut in March 2003 in a 1-1 draw against Lithuania.

    Player facts - Spain

    David Villa is still in line to become top scorer at the 2008 European Championship, but will not add to his total of four goals as he will be sidelined for the final due to injury.

    Miscellaneous Info

    Germany will have mixed feelings regarding referee Roberto Rosetti. The Italian was in charge on 28 April 2004, when Germany suffered one of their biggest defeats in recent memory in a friendly against Romania (1-5). Rosetti was also the referee in Germany's 2-1 away win against the Czech Republic in the 2008 European Championship qualification.

    Spain have also had changing fortunes when Roberto Rosetti was the referee. At the 2006 World Cup, Spain lost 3-1 against France in the round of the last 16. In the 2008 European Championship qualification, Rosetti was also the referee when Spain beat Sweden 3-0 at home.

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