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Euro 2008

Spain hails virtuoso performance

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  • Spanish newspapers hail national side's victory over Russia at Euro 2008
  • Underachievers Spain reach first major final in 24 years
  • Russians lament "end of a beautiful fairy tale," look ahead to 2010 World Cup
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(CNN) -- Spanish newspapers hailed a virtuoso performance by the country's footballing maestros on Friday after the national side advanced to the final of Euro 2008 with a 3-0 win over Russia in Vienna.

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Carlos Marchena celebrate their side's victory over Russia.

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas and defender Carlos Marchena celebrate their side's victory over Russia.

"Spain play a symphony to Europe... the dream is a reality", said Marca, singling out midfielder Cesc Fabregas for special praise. "If a month ago we had said that a Spanish orchestra would triumph in the land of music, more than a few would have said we were crazy."

It had been "the perfect game" declared sports paper As, which printed a double page headline reading "Of course we can!" across its front and back pages. "Germany, surrender!" said another headline on its Web site, looking forward to Sunday's showdown with the three-time European champions.

Even Spain's normally conservative non-sporting newspapers carried pictures of the Spanish team on their front page as a nation synonymous with underachievement in major tournaments celebrated reaching a first major final for the first time since the 1984 European Championships.

"Spain blows away Europe," said El Pais, hailing an "unforgettable" performance and noting that the team was now "just a centimeter from the summit of Everest." ABC said Spain had won to "a chorus of oles," while El Mundo hailed an "epic" victory.

In Russia meanwhile, newspapers expressed pride at the performance of a team which had gone further than expected and produced a memorable display to beat early favorites the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

"Last night we saw the end of a beautiful fairytale," said Rossiiskaya Gazeta, noting that the "time for miracles passed very quickly."

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"This young Russian team leaves Euro 2008 with its head held high, having made many friends with its attractive attacking football," said Pravda, noting that expectations had been raised for the next World Cup in South Africa in 2010: "We can say with all confidence, Da zavtra, Rossiya! See you tomorrow, Russia!"

Popular daily Tvoi Den said Russians had many reasons to be proud of their team and offered thanks to the Russian's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who has already signed a contract up to the next World Cup: "One hopes that in two years nobody will be able to stop us."

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