Liverpool's Fernando Torres last night insisted that Spain's success after 44 years should be the first of many rather than another oasis in the desert of their international history.
"It's been a fantastic season for me, with Liverpool and now with my national team," he said. "Now I want to win more titles to become an important player in Europe and the world. This is my first trophy and I hope for more. Now we have to enjoy it and go for the World Cup in two years."
Torres was named as Uefa's official man of the match despite being substituted yet again, this time with 78 minutes played. On a remarkable total of 25 occasions in 44 games under Luis Aragones Torres has been summoned back to the dug-out before the final whistle. Three times previously it had happened in this tournament, which the Liverpool striker claimed on Saturday he had accepted in the interests of the team, though his body language at the time told a different tale. This time he had only kind words for the veteran coach, who is now leaving the job and is expected to return to club football.
"He's like a father," the striker said. "He likes to play good football and that's the most important thing for this team. He's maybe the most important thing in our success. He has a lot of confidence in this group. Now it's his last game and he's in the history of the Spanish team. We're privileged to be in the national team and live through the most beautiful moment of getting the cup."
Of the winning goal, only his 17th in 54 internationals, he said: "[Philipp] Lahm was in a better position but for a moment he relaxed and that was to my advantage. In this tournament we controlled the little details which has helped us become champions. We're proud of seeing so many people enjoying it. I hope it's good for football because it was good football and good to see. And I'm happy because my job is to score so I've done my job. This is a victory for the union and spirit of a group that gets along so well, which doesn't always happen."
It has certainly not always happened in the past, but the often unpopular Aragones managed to bring together the best of a whole range of Spanish clubs rather than depending so extensively on rivals from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Last night he said he had genuinely believed from the start that this squad could win the trophy: "They thought I was just trying to give them courage. But I hope they can go on to more triumphs. We worked together. So this is a happy day for Spain. We've won in a brilliant way. Now we can start saying we can win [more trophies]. I usually don't show what I feel but I'm extremely happy for everybody. The first 10 minutes we were quite nervous and Germany were better but from the moment of hitting the post we were better. At 1-0 you're never sure you're going to win but we had chances to score more."
He said of Torres, who played under him at Atletico Madrid from the age of 15: "Fernando is a great player in Liverpool and for us. He knows how to dribble, he's fast and he's so young he could be one of the best in the world." A question about his future was not allowed by the Spanish media officer; Aragones last week denied having agreed a contract with the Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Germany's impressive Joachim Löw failed to win his first tournament in charge since succeeding Jürgen Klinsmann but felt that, as in the World Cup four years ago when they finished third, the team had done well. "We managed to get to the final and that's something," he said. "Spain had the better chances and were technically very good. I must compliment my players. Their heads are down at the moment because they've lost the final but they've worked magnificently for six weeks."