- 26 Jun 08, 10:12 PM
Cesc Fabregas - like the thoroughbred he is - has timed his run perfectly to inspire Spain to victory in Euro 2008.
Fabregas's season at Arsenal has, in some respects, mirrored the fortunes of Spain's national team over so many major tournaments in that huge promise was left unfulfilled when the big prizes were handed out.
This has every chance of changing when Spain face Germany in the final of a superb Euro 2008 in Vienna on Sunday.
And with David Villa a major doubt through injury, Spain will look to Fabregas to repeat a performance in the semi-final win against Russia that was just stunning.
The loss of Villa before half-time could have been a bitter blow to Spain's infamously fragile temperament, but Fabregas did not just come on and compensate for his absence, he improved a top-class side with his brilliance.
It was enough to convince me that Germany, resilient but ordinary if you remove Michael Ballack from the equation, will be beaten by Spain in the final.
Fabregas did not just create goals for Daniel Guiza and David Silva, he formed an instant partnership with Fernando Torres in the same manner Steven Gerrard did at Liverpool in the second half of last season.
He pulled the strings in midfield, but also provided attacking support - and looked the complete midfield package.
It's a dangerous business backing against Germany, but the evidence of our own eyes throughout this tournament suggest Spain are vastly superior, providing they do not fall into the same traps that claimed Portugal in the quarter-final.
I hope Spain go on to win the final because it will be a justified outcome - the best side in the tournament will have emerged triumphant.
They have outstanding players, and while coach Luis Aragones has had his unsavoury moments, he has provided wise leadership here.
He was questioned when he left out Raul and Guti out of his squad, but has been vindicated.
If they play as they can against Germany - and this is nothing personal against Joachim Low's workmanlike side - the competition will get the winners it deserves.
Spain ended up outclassing Russia, leaving Guus Hiddink a loser at the semi-final stage of a big competition yet again, as he was with the Netherlands and South Korea.
After talking up Andrei Arshavin following his display against Sweden, I was left bitterly disappointed by the performance of a player who has become the talk of the tournament.
Maybe all the sudden attention and talk of a move to Barcelona got on top of him and drained him of energy and inspiration, but he was awful - and so many of his previously promising team-mates were no better.
I hope we saw the real Arshavin against Sweden and the Netherlands because he looked lightweight against Spain, but no-one should doubt his ability on the strength of one poor showing.
Russia have shown us rich promise, while Spain have finally turned potential into tangible results.
I hope they can give one last push on Sunday and give a hugely-talented group of players the trophy they deserve.
It's Spain for me - who do you think will win on Sunday?
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