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Where Do They Rank Among The Footballing Greats?
Coyb18 (Chelsea) 4 years ago
Such as Mata and Llorente examples of great players who didn't feature this time around. Don't see them slowing down anytime soon!
22football (Arsenal) 4 years ago
Great point about 22football!
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago
It’s not often that Jesters are given a second chance to prove their worth and entertain those in higher seats of power. Although football fans were shooing Spain out the door, fed-up with their uncharacteristic brand of football (no strikers, how dare they); the World Champions were allowed an encore, and silenced their critics with devastating effect.

Germany have a great foothold with excellent teams in the past, as do Argentina, The Netherlands and the France side that were around for their 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship triumphs. But the crown of international football has long belonged to Brazil and their otherworldly artistry. Football is often quick to force the issue of a new great and an heir to the thrown off the back of a solitary performance or short run in a tournament. But Spain have made it very difficult to displace them as the undisputed kings over the past four years.

Even the strong argument Germany brought with them for this summer’s tournament wasn’t enough to force a dream final. The impressive German production line was halted by an unlikely candidate, or “dark house,” in Italy. Andrea Pirlo wowed a larger audience and Mario Balotelli proved that, for the most part, he is capable of keeping a clear head on an important stage. But the faith in Spain’s dominance never really wavered. Even through that “boring” game against Portugal and the real possibility of being knocked-out through penalties, the champions found enough courage to swat away those who blasphemed against such footballing deities.

Their football isn’t for everybody, but then again neither is the music of Pink Floyd or Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. Not everyone fancies a form of art running off in a tangent of 20-minute flicks, tricks and time changes; for most, the 4-minute hit single will suffice. But that’s not to rule against the obvious brilliance and virtuosity of Spain (and Pink Floyd), rather it may be something that is only fully appreciated in a time long after they’ve gone.
Spain are not making a case for themselves as the greatest footballing nation on earth at the moment—they did that long ago. Instead, we’re being treated to the dynamics of a team who know they can beat any side who treat themselves as (undeserving) equals.

Their decision to win a tournament largely without a striker is something to be admired, not condemned. Ok, so the regular football fan wants to see goal-mouth action from a traditional No.9, but haven’t Spain earned the right to express themselves in a manner they see fit? Their brand may be boring to most, but to go an entire international tournament with only one goal conceded is the work of geniuses in their prime. They can force an opponent (and many audiences) to submit to their game of a thousand passes. Or, as we have been gifted on many occasions, they can excite, dazzle and run the score up to the embarrassing.

Maybe Spain are lucky that they have finally found their rhythm and have peaked at the right time; is there any nation in the world who can match their ability collectively on the football pitch? Germany perhaps are the closest in terms of talent and forging their individual brilliance for success on the pitch. But the Netherlands noticeably have their internal problems, Portugal have consistently been without a top striker to compliment the rest of their team and Brazil are welcoming a new generation into their senior squad.

But to suggest Spain are only reaping the benefits of other nations’ shortcomings would be a huge discredit to their ability and accomplishments. Never before has a team won a three-peat of two European Championships and a World Cup, and there is very little argument against them adding to it in Brazil in 2014. Yes we may be seeing the last of players like Xavi in Spain’s midfield, and Carles Puyol may too depart the scene in the near future, but their factory line seems never-ending. They can allow Cesc Fabregas his traditional role as creator from deeper in midfield, and players like Iker Muniain and Isco may find themselves in the mix regularly come the next tournament. And that’s leaving out all those who barely or did not feature this time around.

The reason Spain should be praised for their achievements and ability to deliver in such magnificent fashion is because very few have done it before. Their stranglehold on international football doesn’t appear to be coming to an end any time soon. Yes the coaches may change and certain members of the squad may be moved in and out, but the philosophy and ability remains a constant.

This is the greatest team of our generation. Rather than rubbishing them as boring and untraditional (even bordering on the “anti-football” to some) we should be celebrating one of the most dominant football teams whose reign is coated with all the gold there is to win on a major international stage.

Blog by Thomas Hallett

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