The 2008 Davis Cup is history. Spain, playing without injured No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal, upset heavily favored host Argentina 3-1 over the weekend in Mar del Plata to win its third Davis Cup. Argentina came up empty for the third time in three trips to the final. Fernando Verdasco clinched the victory Sunday in a five-set marathon, defeating Jose Acasuso 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. Verdasco, No. 16 in the world, replaced the slumping David Ferrer in the reverse singles and triumphed over a shaky Acasuso in 3 hours, 56 minutes. “It’s the most exciting victory of my life,” Verdasco said. “Playing for my country, against the best players, it’s a dream.” Acasuso, ranked No. 48, was a late replacement for the injured Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina’s rising star and top-ranked player at No. 9. “I was prepared for the match, but Verdasco played very well in the fourth and fifth sets,” Acasuso said. “He started serving better and deserves a lot of credit for this win.” The outcome silenced a boisterous Argentine crowd which had hoped for an Acasuso upset, setting the stage for a fifth and decisive rubber. That match would have pitted David Nalbandian, an easy winner over No. 12 Ferrer in the first rubber on Friday, against Feliciano Lopez. Although ranked No. 11, Nalbandian is Argentina’s best player and team leader. Lopez had defeated del Potro in Friday’s second rubber, during which the Argentine suffered a thigh injury. Verdasco teamed with Lopez on Saturday to defeat Nalbandian and Agustin Calleri in the pivotal doubles match. After del Potro’s loss on Friday, Argentine captain Albert Mancini added Nalbandian to the doubles lineup for his experience, but the plan backfired. Monday there was much conjecture and second guessing about Argentina’s loss. Mancini stepped down as captain on Sunday and Nalbandian, emotionally devastated after the doubles loss, had to deny rumors yesterday that he was through with the Argentine Davis Cup team. “I’m going to continue, like I’ve done to this point, defending Argentina’s flag the best way possible,” a terse Nalbandian said. Del Potro’s injury clearly opened the door for Spain. But it was the inspired play of Lopez and Verdasco that won the final for the Spaniards.