Spain’s Euro 2008 triumph changed the story for the nation, according to Fernando Torres.
Torres was a key member of Luis Aragones’ side that prevailed in Austria and Switzerland a decade ago, the striker scoring the only goal of the final against Germany in Vienna.
La Roja built on their success to become a dominant force, winning the 2010 World Cup on South African soil before going on to defend their European crown two years later.
However, they had to patiently wait for success, with their only other major title in international football coming at the 1964 European Championship.
“Luis and that group of players changed the story. I was lucky to be part of it and I am very proud,” Torres told Marca on the 10th anniversary of Spain’s victory.
Torres, who is expected to move to Japan after leaving boyhood club Atletico Madrid at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, scored two goals in Spain’s Euro 2008 campaign, netting against Sweden in the group stages before seizing the opportunity to become a national hero against Germany when the trophy was on the line.
“I saw that Xavi received the ball between the lines and that he was very lonely. At that moment, I open myself slightly to my right to create space and be able to make a diagonal run towards the goal,” he recalled, dissecting his first-half strike.
Hoy hace 10 años un grupo demostramos al mundo que la historia se puede cambiar \ 10 years ago our group showed to the world that the course of history can be changed #Euro2008 pic.twitter.com/HCSNyhil4G
— Fernando Torres (@Torres) June 29, 2018
“Xavi’s pass, I could not reach or control it clearly because [Philipp] Lahm is able to close and win the position. In that instant I see that I can continue my run on the outside because Lahm stops me with his body.
“[Jens] Lehmann does not come out fast and for a moment I think I can overtake the defender and get there before the goalkeeper. I accelerate and the rest is history.”
Now 34, Torres admitted he misses Aragones, who passed away in 2014, with the coach giving him a motivational speech prior to the match against Germany.
“He caught me alone in a hallway before going out into the field. There he put me against the wall and grabbed my chest,” Torres added.
“He told me: ‘It’s our time, Nino, you’re going to go out there, you’re going to score two goals and we’re going to be European champions.’ Then he made the sign of the cross on my forehead and let me go.”
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