Spain show the way


Juggernaut is India’s gift to the English lexicon. Now the word is most appropriate to describe Spanish football. Spain, the reigning World Cup and European champions, are in no mood to relent. The way they took Uruguay apart in their opening match of the Confederations Cup in Brazil proved that the pass masters aren’t ready to relinquish their supremacy.

The score line — 2-1 — wasn’t something to rave about, but the manner in which Spain set about their task was certainly significant. Tiki-taka isn’t past its sell-by date yet.
In the dynamic world of football, Spain’s dominance, it seems, isn’t vulnerable to change. The Confederations Cup is the only silverware missing from the glittering Spanish cabinet and the anomaly should end in Brazil even if the home team is picking up tail wind at the right moment. A Brazil-Spain final will be a great appetiser to what promises to be a sumptuous meal next year.
If the seniors have laid down a marker in the preparatory event for the 2014 World Cup, the Spanish colts dismantled Italy 4-2 in the final of the European U-21 championship in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The superb match offered a sense of déja vu because Spain’s thrashing of Italy at Euro 2012 is still fresh in memory. Like Casillas and Co, Alcantara’s army also retained their title. For the record, Spain are the reigning double European champions in the U-19 section. Uefa can engrave Spain’s name in advance on all the trophies it orders these days.
Barcelona’s style is not different to Spain’s but the Catalan club have found success hard to come by in the Champions League in recent times. That’s why Vicente del Bosque’s team deserves unqualified praise for its sustained success. The sheer force of Spain’s collective will is so strong that they win even when they aren’t at their best. And no national team has married beauty and efficiency like this batch of Spanish players. An unshakeable faith in their passing style is paying them.
According to Republic of Ireland’s manager Giovanni Trapattoni, the current Spanish team is better than Brazil’s class of 1970 and it will be hard to dispute the experienced Italian’s assessment if La Furia Roja go all the way in the World Cup next year. The talent at the disposal of Del Bosque is frightening. Santi Cazorla, a bundle of talent, can walk into any team in the world but he is just a fringe a player for the avuncular manager. There is no place either for the wonderful Thiago Alcantara, captain of the triumphant U-21 team and the scorer of a hat-trick in the final, in the Spanish team. Maybe Spain should start lending players to poorer nations.

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