All eyes on Germany, Spain for final showdown
Monday, 30 June 2008

Trevor Huggins

VIENNA, June 27 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) - Germany and Spain will be busy drawing up battle plans on Friday as they prepare for this weekend's meeting in the 2008 European Championship final.

Germany were the bookmakers' favorites before the tournament and coach Joachim Loew will be looking to vindicate that with a better performance than in Wednesday's tortuous 3-2 semi-final win over Turkey.

Loew needs to make the most of the time left at their Swiss training camp at Tenero after his team were kept on the back foot by the Turks and needed Philipp Lahm's 90th minute strike to reach Sunday's final in Vienna.

But their coach was heartened by his team's determination not to be swayed from their target of a fourth European crown after Semih Senturk nipped in for an 86th minute equalizer.

"After coming so far we obviously want to win and we're going to bring our winning mentality into the final," said Loew, who has three key players on top attacking form in Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Now the homework will start on Sunday's opponents after Spain gave Russia yet another drubbing in Thursday's semi-final at the Austrian capital's Ernst Happel stadium.

Having trounced them 4-1 in their opening group game in Innsbruck back on June 10, Luis Aragones's side gave the Russians a 3-0 pasting to reach the final.

Xavi, Daniel Guiza and David Silva got the goals but midfielder Cesc Fabregas was the architect of the victory, replacing the injured David Villa after 35 minutes and laying on Spain's second and third goals.

The only disappointment on the night for Spain was the discovery that, having scored four goals at Euro 2008, Villa's injury is set to rule the tournament's top scorer out of the final.

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