World champions Italy, Marco van Basten's free-flowing Netherlands and two-time winners France all had high hopes in Austria and Switzerland. However, it was Germany who emerged from the pack, advancing from the UEFA European Championship group stage for the first time in three attempts and reaching their first final since EURO' 96. The Vienna showpiece, however, belonged to unbeaten Spain, who ended a 44-year wait for their second EURO thanks to Fernando Torres's solitary goal.
Semi-finals: Russia, Turkey
Quarter-finals: Portugal, Croatia, Netherlands, Italy
Group stage: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland
Top scorer: David Villa (Spain) – 4
Did you know?
Cesc Fàbregas had never taken a penalty before his decisive effort in the shoot-out as Spain overcame Italy in the quarter-finals following a goalless draw in Vienna.
Also in 2008
European Champion Clubs' Cup winners: Manchester United FC (1-1, 6-5 on pens v Chelsea FC)
European Footballer of the Year: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC)
Eurovision Song Contest winner: Dima Bilan (Russia) singing Believe
European Golden Boot winner: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United FC)
Nobel Peace Prize winner: Maarti Ahtisaari (Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, France)
Men's Olympic 100m champion: Usain Bolt (Jamaica) running 9.69 seconds
Formula 1 world champion: Lewis Hamilton (United Kingdom) driving a McLaren
Oscar for Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
19 February – Fidel Castro announces his resignation as president of Cuba, effective of 24 February, ending 31 years in office
2 July – After six and a half years in captivity kidnapped Frenchwoman Ingrid Betancourt is rescued in Colombia
4 November – Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States, the first African American to hold the post
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