Long thought of as underachievers, Spain put the finishing touches on a tremendous showing at Euro 2008. Spain demolished the opposition in the first round and finally put their past to rest against Italy as Spain ousted the Italians via penalties. From there, a 3-0 semifinal win over Russia and Sunday's 1-0 win over Germany were somehwat anticlimactic. The championship was destined for Spain; all they had to do was claim it, which they did.
Given the abundance of Spanish talent available and the elite status of Spain's La Liga, it seems everything has long been in place for Spanish successes at European Championships and World Cups. Now that Spain finally has won a title, for the first time since 1964, has Spain joined the ranks of the upper echelon?
Is Spain a legit world power? Or do they still need to succeed at the World Cup? After all, Spain last reached the final four of a World Cup in 1950.
Spain could certainly pull a France and win two major tournaments in three years time. France beat Brazil to win the 1998 World Cup, then beat Italy to win Euro 2000. Spain will likely be considered one of the teams to beat entering the 2010 World Cup regardless of the draw and now that they shed their underachiever status, perhaps they can play with confidence they've not enjoyed for quite some time, if ever.