Euro 2008 – Austria & Switzerland

Euro 2008 – Austria & Switzerland

Hosts: Austria & Switzerland

Final: Spain 1 Germany 0

Top Scorer: David Villa (Spain) 4 goals
Teams/Matches: 16/31

Facts and Figures:

* Qualification for Euro 2008 started in August 2006, just over a month after the end of the World Cup.

* Euro 2008 was the thirteenth UEFA European Football Championship.

* England was the only seeded team that failed to qualify for the finals, whilst Russia was the only unseeded one to qualify.

* Group C of Euro 2008 became known as the "group of death", with Italy, France, the Netherlands and Romania drawn together.

* 77 goals were scored at Euro 2008 at an average of 2.48 per match.

* When Austria were beaten 1-0 by Germany in their last group match, the tournament became the first in European Championship history not to have one of the host nations present in the knockout stages.

Final

Croatia, Spain and the Netherlands all qualified from the group stages with maximum points. Austria and Switzerland were big outsiders, despite the advantage of being the tournament hosts. The Swiss lost their captain, Alexander Frei, to a first-game injury and were eliminated despite winning their third match against Portugal. Co-hosts Austria also failed to progress beyond the group stage as they were beaten 1-0 by Germany in their third and decisive match.

The final game in Group A was a thriller as Turkey fought back from 2–0 down to beat the Czech Republic 3-2. They joined Portugal as qualifiers from Group A. France were eliminated from Group C after failing to add to the point gained in their opening game against Romania. Italy’s victory over the French in their final match sent them through to the quarter-finals alongside the Netherlands. The holders, Greece, were unable to repeat their heroics from 2004 and failed to pick up a single point in Group D. Russia progressed by defeating Sweden in their final match to join Spain in the knockout stages of Euro 2008.

In the quarter-finals, Germany beat Portugal 3-2 in a thrilling game. It was the last game in charge of the national team for Luiz Felipe Scolari before his short spell with English Premiership side Chelsea. Turkey prevailed in another late thriller, equalising at the end of extra-time against Croatia and winning the penalty shootout. Russia eliminated the Netherlands with two extra-time goals and the last quarter-final match saw Spain defeat Italy on penalties.

Turkey’s luck finally ran out in the semi-finals but only after a thrilling battle with Germany. Turkey, missing nine of their first team players through injury and suspension, took a shock lead before the Germans took control of the game at 2-1. Turkey forced an equaliser before Germany finally booked their place in the final of Euro 2008 with a last minute winner. Spain won the second semi-final against Russia 3-0 with goals from Xavi, Daniel Guiza and David Silva.

In the final, Spain became Euro 2008 winners after Fernando Torres scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Germany. Xavi played a pass in behind the German defence after half an hour’s play and Torres beat off the challenge of Philipp Lahm before clipping the ball over Jens Lehmann.

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