Sports

Spain breaks title-less span

VIENNA, Austria -- A big-game flop no more, Spain won the European Championship 1-0 over Germany on Sunday for its first major title in 44 years.

Fernando Torres scored in the 33rd minute and the Spaniards never backed down against such a formidable opponent. Their last significant title came in the 1964 Euros at home.

"It is a privilege to be in the national team and live through the most beautiful moment of getting the cup," Torres said. "It will be good not only for Spain, but also for football because the team that played best won."

In beating a team that makes a habit of appearing in championship finals, the Spaniards put to rest a reputation for underachieving. Always loaded with talented players, Spain has spent four decades falling short of expectations.

That all changed at these Euros, where the Spaniards swept their first-round games, eliminated World Cup champion Italy in a penalty-kicks shootout in the quarterfinals, then routed Russia 3-0 in the semifinals.

"We have won in a brilliant way," coach Luis Aragones said. "We will be able to start saying we can win, a European championhip as well as any other thing."

Against the highly accomplished Germans, they weren't intimidated. They got the one goal they needed -- from a slumping striker, no less -- and set off chants of "ES-PANA," and "Ole, Ole Ole" at the final whistle.

The entire Spanish squad ran over to the huge rooting section of red and gold, exchanging hugs, while many of the spent Germans collapsed to the turf.

"It is to me the most important day in Spanish football in many, many years," Torres said.

When Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas accepted the trophy on a stage, the Spanish fans began chanting the melody to their national anthem, which has no words. Thousands of camera flashes went off as the players jumped in place, then headed onto the field to show off their prize.

The Spaniards weren't close to finished with their celebration that was so long in the making. They marched to their rooting section, hoisting the cup and saluting their flag-waving, firecracker-exploding fans.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- The University of Arkansas reaches two milestones today -- its contract with fired basketball coach Nolan Richardson ends and the chancellor who helped show him the door is stepping down after 11 years at the Fayetteville campus.

Chancellor John White says he didn't realize the coincidence. But in an interview with The Associated Press, White said Athletic Director Jeff Long and current Arkansas coach John Pelphrey should develop a relationship with Richardson.

White and then-Athletic Director Frank Broyles fired Richardson on March 1, 2002, after the coach said he would leave if the school would buy out his contract. With the dismissal, the Razorbacks' fundraising arm was obligated to pay Richardson $500,000 a year through June 30.

• MLB -- Detroit placed right fielder Magglio Ordonez on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled muscle in his right side.

Ordonez pulled his oblique muscle in the third inning of a 7-6 win over Colorado on Saturday.

Ordonez is hitting .307 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. He hit .363 last season to win the American League batting title.

To replace Ordonez, Detroit recalled outfielder Matt Joyce from Triple-A Toledo.

• Minnesota right fielder Michael Cuddyer was placed on the 15-day disabled list, the start of his second stint on the shelf this season to let a lingering finger injury heal.

This time, Cuddyer has a strained tendon in his left index finger that's causing enough pain to prevent him from properly gripping the bat or fully bending the digit. He has played through the soreness for more than a week but was unable to Saturday or Sunday.

Outfielder Denard Span, who joined the Twins in April when Cuddyer cut and dislocated the index finger on his right hand during a headfirst slide, will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester in time to play today.

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