Spain are into the UEFA European Championship final for the first time since 1984 after overcoming the challenge of Russia in rainy Vienna. Andrés Iniesta created the opening goal for his FC Barcelona team-mate Xavi Hernández five minutes into the second period at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion before substitute Daniel Güiza and David Silva added further goals in the final 17 minutes.
The self-doubt which pervaded the Spanish media before the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final with Italy has been replaced by boundless optimism after their side breezed past Russia 3-0 to set up a final with Germany. "We are the best!" screamed sports daily Marca from their front page. "Spain amazes Europe," said El Mundo Deportivo
After the gritty performance and penalty shoot-out victory against Italy last weekend, Spain put in a commanding display on Thursday in Vienna to see off tournament upstarts Russia. The celebrations back home started after David Silva scored the third goal with eight minutes left to end any possibility of a comeback following strikes by Xavi Hernández and Daniel Güiza. Fireworks crackled across the night sky before the final whistle and residents of Spain's major cities were treated to another long evening of blaring car horns and raucous chanting. "This team isn't the ugly duckling anymore, the eternal losers in Spanish sport," said sports daily AS. "Now they are at the forefront because they win, but above all because they have turned football into a fine art."