Some international tournaments capture the imagination with their sheer energy and joy, featuring footballing flamboyance or ground-breaking, era-defining tactical revolutions. The triumphs and disasters played out in front of the watching world can resurrect memories of childhood summers past, reaffirming a love for the game that some lesser tournaments may make us question. Some tournaments just have it all, and the European Championship of 2008 was one of those.
This gem of a tournament sizzled with sensational shocks, drama and wonderful football. Several teams hit early heights before faltering and losing their way; save for one that is. One team shone throughout, dazzling their audience with a style and panache that was to leave the opposition struggling for answers with its incisive speed and dominance of the ball.
Playing with a high tempo, energetic style, valuing purposeful possession over furious endeavour, the Spain of 2008 had adopted an approach that would see them dominate and embark on an era of supremacy unprecedented in the modern age. Like Greece in 2004, the collective harmony was evident, but in Spain there were the crucial additions of precise technique, inventive creativity, perpetual movement and devastating attack that made La Roja irresistible in 2008.
Their crowning glory exemplified . . .