Skip to content

The Spanish Armada

The Invincible Fleet overwhelmed Italy last night with an awe-inspiring display leaving no doubt in any football fan’s mind that these distinguished galleons are not only the best in the world, but possibly the best in history.

It is nigh on impossible of course to compare era’s and I have to rely on old footage to watch the Brazil 1970 vintage. My fond memories of the Dutch side as a young whipper-snapper in ’74 and ’78 mean that I more often than not list them as my all-time favourite national team, yet they didn’t win a bean.

The West Germans post England 1966 were pretty indomitable but one of my favourites were Brazil in 1982. The likes of Zico, Sócrates and Falcao played with such panache, but memories play tricks and they didn’t even make the semi’s in World Cup ’82.

So Spain, with three consecutive titles and a run which began with Euro 2008 qualifying in the autumn of 2006, have set the bar very high and with age on their side they have an excellent chance of a unprecedented win in Brazil in two years. Now, that would make them the greatest.

They (me included) said the Spanish were beatable, they were tired, they would not live up to their billing, they over-passed. They may not have rolled over everyone they played but last night they answered any critics with a masterclass in passing, movement and attacking mastery.

The first two goals were beautiful. I could watch over and over again the pass from Iniesta to Fabregas for the first and then Xavi’s to Alba for the second. Elegance and perfection.

Italy were always on the periphery and I felt for Pirlo, who tried desperately to impose himself on the game but he was outnumbered in the class stakes. Balotelli was a c-celeb on this stage of stars.

But at 0-2 Italy were only a goal away from sending the game into a rousing finish, sadly though after Thiago Motta went off, just after he had came on, the game was over and Torres and Mata arrived like commanders of the fleet to finish of the wounded Italians.

The Italians made an impression however and I think better days lie ahead for Cesare Prandelli and his team.

The way Spain, Italy and Germany play only underlines how far England are away from being anything more than a quarter final team. The Premiership hasn’t helped the nation’s team, hopefully in time the Burton Football Centre can.

I don’t accept that our players are naturally less technical than those on the continent. The problem lies with the coaching, beginning at Dad’s screaming at their 8-year olds to “get stuck in” to our professional coaches, who are simply less qualified and less open minded than their equivalents in Europe.

I saw a lot of the games, and Euro 2012 was mostly quite magical with some great games, plenty of goals and proud hosts, with very little of the troubles that were expected. Why Michel Platini wants to change a winning formula is beyond me.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: