Monday, 30 June 2008

Spanish Armada

The statistics read for themselves:

Shots on targets: Spain 5 Germany 1

Shots off target: Spain 7 Germany 1

Corners: Spain 7 Germany 4

The Score: Spain 1 Germany 0

Spain was clearly the better winner and the super Spaniards 44 years of hurt ended with a fine Fernando Torres goal in the 33rd minute.

I do find it ironic that Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina all achieved a winners medal after all having, a somewhat, poor domestic season for their clubs. Perhaps it was that determination to achieve and not look back with failure, grace the moment to edge them on.

Torres, especially, had a fitting end to a spectacular season for himself, not necessarily for Liverpool. Scoring 33 goals in his first season of English football and scored, probably, the most important against Germany to win the European Championship. I would not be surprised if he is a front-runner for European, if not, World player of the year in December.

Luis Aragones made the bold decision to leave out Real Madrid cult heroes Raul and Guti as he said the squad moral and spirit would be better without them. He was right. Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos were the only players from the La Liga winners.

Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez provided the stability needed for Spain to prosper; their experience and guidance led a group of young players to step up and performed like the winners they were.

Marcos Senna, I thought, was outstanding in every game I saw him. He made that so called ‘Makelele’ position look very fashionable and well worked. He provided a platform for Spain’s attack and he allowed the impressive Andres Iniesta and David Silva to transform the game from the back and get into decent position to be a real threat.

Barcelona’s Iniesta is only 24, he played with such maturity, and his marvellous wizardry carved out many openings for the likes of David Villa and Torres to work on.

The piss poor Ivan Campo impressionist Carles Puyol was a magnificent performer throughout and his defensive partnership with Carlos Marchena was significantly outstanding. In addition, on the outside of them, the La Liga’s top goal scoring full backs Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila.

Ramos is more naturally known as a Central defender but he excelled on the right, something in which Micah Richards should look up to. He is only 22 but he has made almost thirty appearances for his country. Class act.

Capdevila is quite the opposite, being 30, he is quite new on the international scene but he did not look out of place. An unorthodox left back who where the shirt number 11 as he known to play left wing for his club Villarreal.

Iker Casillas has just played his 77th game for his country and he has led them to a winner medal. Great responsibility and he led with dignity and flourished with the pressure. A shrewd move putting the captaincy in the hands of a goalkeeper but Aragones put faith in him. A cult hero.

Torres and Villa put up amazing partnership and one, which will dominate Europe for years. Moreover, with Real Mallorca’s Dani Guiza providing the back-up they three top class strikers to choose from.

What a team, and what a team performance. Everything clicked for Spain at this championship and they have provided a benchmark for future success. Think the majority of these players are not even in their prime yet. 2010 will be interesting.

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