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Spain dodges Zapatero kiss of death

Crowned European champions, despite ministerial voodoo

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Spain is this morning in a state of (hungover) shock after its footballers were deservedly crowned European champions - despite the presence at the clash with Germany of prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Zapatero, we should explain, was considered by Spaniards a certain kiss of death for the national team's European ambitions, having apparently jinxed every sports event he personally attended. He didn't manage to make any of Spain's five matches leading up to yesterday's final, but the announcement that he intended to travel to Vienna filled the nation with a sense of grim foreboding.

Accordingly, footie fans launched a national campaign in an attempt to convince el PM to steer well clear of Austria.

When it became obvious that Zapatero was indeed going to claim his ministerial seat, the focus of concerned citizen's efforts turned to getting as many members of Spain's royal family to the match as possible in an attempt to counter the governmental voodoo. The Prince and Princess of Asturias personally attended the semi against Russia, and it appeared that as much blue blood as possible would be required to ensure any chance of lifting the trophy.

In the event, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres's goal in the 33rd minute was enough to break the curse. Meanwhile Zapatero this morning protested his innocence in the Spanish press, claiming he's "always been lucky". That will cut little ice with Spain's national basketball team who last year lost the world crown to Russia as the PM looked on - a humiliation which largely provoked the anti-jinx campaign. ®

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