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Euro 2024: Spain aiming to keep 23-year run going in Sunday’s final

Since 2001, Spanish teams have enjoyed an extraordinary run of success on the biggest stage

On Sunday night Spain will seek to become the first country to win four European Championships.

La Roja booked their place in the final in Berlin with an entertaining semi-final victory over France in Munich on Tuesday night.

Whether they walk out in the Olympiastadion against England or the Netherlands, Spain are sure to be hot favourites, and that’s not just because they have been the stand-out team in Germany so far this summer and have already become the first nation to ever win six matches at one Euros.

They also have the mother of all omens on their side.

Since May 23, 2001, when Bayern Munich overcame Valencia to win the Champions League in Milan, sides from Spain have contested 22 major club and international finals against non-Spanish sides. They have won all 22.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

International (3 Finals)

Spain are famously the only nation in history to have ever won three consecutive major tournaments.

Luis Aragones started the dynasty by masterminding a 1-0 win over Germany in Vienna in 2008. The only goal came from Fernando Torres just after the half-hour.

Vicente del Bosque took the reins later that year and guided Spain to glory less than two years later, seeing off the Netherlands in a battle in Johannesburg, Andres Iniesta scoring the only goal four minutes from the end of extra-time to secure his country’s first and only World Cup.

Torres was also on target as Spain ran riot in Kyiv to win the Euro 2012 Final against Italy, becoming the first side to win consecutive Euros in addition to the first to win three straight major titles.

David Silva and Jordi Alba put La Roja 2-0 up before half-time before Torres and Juan Mata put some gloss on the scoreline in the last six minutes.

The era ended then, however. The Netherlands exacted some revenge with a 5-1 group stage win and Chile also got the better of Del Bosque’s men in Brazil in 2014 which saw La Roja fail to make the knockouts.

Italy also got their own back on Spain at Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win in the Round of 16 in Paris.

 

Champions League (9 Finals)

It probably comes as little surprise that Real Madrid have contributed the lion’s share of the glory in the continent’s biggest club competition over the past couple of decades.

Los Blancos overcame Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgow to win the 2002 Champions League Final and thrashed Juventus in Cardiff to lift the trophy again in 2017.

Liverpool were then beaten in the 2018 final in Kyiv and also the 2022 showpiece in Paris.

Their fifth triumph against overseas opposition came just last month against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, though Madrid did of course also beat Atletico Madrid in 2014 and 2016 during their incredible dynasty.

Madrid’s fierce rivals Barcelona contributed four of the final victories too in a nine-year span. They beat Arsenal in Paris to land the 2006 Champions League and overcame Man United in Rome three years later and then again at Wembley in 2011.

In 2015 Barca also beat Juventus, in the very same Olympiastadion in Berlin where Sunday’s Euro 2024 final will be held.

 

UEFA Cup/Europa League (10 Finals)

The Europa League has also seen Spain dominate showpiece occasions against continental rivals across the past 23 years.

Sevilla have a love-affair with the competition like no other.

They beat Middlesbrough in Eindhoven in 2006 and then won three straight from 2014-16, beating Benfica in Turin, Dnipro in Warsaw and then Liverpool in Basel.

Inter were defeated in the 2020 final in Cologne while Roma were despatched in the 2023 showpiece in Budapest.

They also beat domestic rivals Espanyol in 2007 as part of their incredible dynasty of seven titles in 17 seasons.

Atletico Madrid saw-off Fulham in Hamburg to win the 2010 competition – and after also beating Athletic Bilbao in the final two years later – they returned to beat Marseille in Lyon in 2018.

Valencia overcame Marseille to lift the 2004 edition while Villarreal claimed the trophy when they beat Man United in Gdansk in 2021.

On Sunday Spain will face England or Netherlands in the 23rd final against overseas opposition in 23 years – can either nation end this incredible run?

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Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.

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