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Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 11:29 UK

Spain ecstatic at Euro 2008 win

Spanish fans celebrate Euro 2008 victory in Madrid
Spanish fans partied well into the night

Thousands of euphoric Spanish fans have been celebrating in Madrid after their football team won Euro 2008, beating Germany 1-0 in the final.

Fernando Torres' goal gave Spain their first major trophy in 44 years.

The capital was awash with the red and gold national colours as fans draped in flags danced and sang in the streets.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Madrid describes noisy scenes of jubilation in the Plaza Colon, where thousands of people gathered.

'Works of art'

Spanish newspapers revelled in the victory.

"We are the Champions" crowed the Marca and AS dailies on Monday morning.

Coach Luis Aragones was praised for sidelining some top stars, and deciding to field a young side.

"Aragones has been the hero, the saviour, the key figure in the success," the Sport daily proclaimed.

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Spain celebrates Euro win

AS used lofty language to hail the Spanish triumph.

It said football "has evolved over a century and a half. This team is at the apex of this development and has won with a succession of works of art".

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was at the stadium and visited the team in their changing room afterwards.

"It's a privilege to be able to be here," he said.

"But this is only the beginning, there is more to come. The World Cup is next."

All-night party

Our correspondent says that the victory is seen as a major triumph for the young Spanish team, and the championship has in many ways been a unifying event, in a country that is politically and regionally divided.

In the past autonomous regions such as Catalonia and the Basque Country have traditionally been reluctant to support the national team.

The enduring image of the tournament, he says, will be King Juan Carlos embracing Spain's goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas as he accepted the trophy in Vienna.

In Madrid hundreds of police struggled to keep traffic moving as fans spilled out of the city's main square into restaurants and bars for a night of partying.

Police made 52 arrests, and one 40-year-old Spanish fan was found dead in the morning - it is assumed he fell and bashed his head while drunk, the AFP news agency reported.

"It's so many years since we even got past the quarter-finals, and now we've won. I can't believe it," Dani, 19, a student from Madrid told AFP.

"We are the best, and now we're ready to win the World Cup," Joaquin, 48, said. He and his family travelled to the capital from the western city of Salamanca.

The excitement had been growing throughout the day as fans gathered in the Plaza Colon amid soaring temperatures, to watch the match broadcast live from Vienna on giant television screens.

They are likely to return to the square later on Monday, for an expected victory parade by the Spanish players.

Spain last won the European championship in 1964 with victory over the former USSR - its only previous triumph at a major tournament.



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