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Spain Celebrates First Euro Win in 44 Years

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Spain Celebrates First Euro Win in 44 Years

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Spain Celebrates First Euro Win in 44 Years

Spain Celebrates First Euro Win in 44 Years

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Spain's soccer team beat Germany 1-0 to win the Euro 2008 championship. It's the team's first major title in more than 40 years.

ARI SHAPIRO, host:

It's been 44 years since Spain held a trophy in the European soccer championships, and yesterday that changed. A third of the way through the final Euro 2008 game against Germany, Spain's Fernando Torres scored a goal.

Unidentified Man: And this is the change of (unintelligible) again, and Fernando Torres is almost the recipient. He is the recipient.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Unidentified Man: Torres has the Midas Touch, and it's a Spanish treasure.

(Soundbite of cheering)

SHAPIRO: It turned out to be the only goal. Spain beat Germany one to nothing. Spain is a notorious underachiever in this competition. In the last five tournaments, they've gone home in the quarterfinals.

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Spain Wins Euro 2008 Soccer Championship

Spain Wins Euro 2008 Soccer Championship

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Fans celebrate after Spain wins the final of the Euro 2008 soccer championships. Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

There were two big soccer victories over the weekend, sports analyst Bill Wolff says: Spain's upset win against Germany in the Euro 2008 championship, and soccer's victory over U.S. indifference to the most popular sport in the world.

"I never thought I'd say so," Wolff says, but he sees true soccer fever among Americans. "I see all these guys obsessed with the European Cup," he says. "It's on ESPN all the time; that tells you something right there."

Spain won the game with one goal scored in the 33rd minute of play. It was Spain's first major championship win since 1964, and it was unexpected. The Germans, considered the best team in the tournament, were favored to win, Wolff says.

But Spain controlled the ball for most of the game, and Spain never gave Germany a chance. "Soccer is a possession game," Wolff says. "That's just so simple and so true."

Wolff says competitions like yesterday's give Americans a chance to "watch entire countries lose their minds." He points out that even leaders of countries get caught up in the soccer madness. "The president of Spain is in the crowd, not trying to control himself or being diplomatic, but just going nuts," Wolff says.