Matt Holland (PA)

Spain deserved Euro 2012 and Euro 2012 deserved Spain

By SportUK 01/07/2012 23:16

Spain saved the best until last. In the end the tournament turned into a battle of the midfields and in that department this Spanish team is untouchable. Untouchable now and possibly in history.

 

Spain celebrateIt was fitting that a tournament of such high quality football should be won by the team that has turned winning into an art and turned their art into wins.

 

To say it almost feels like repeating the obvious but the strength of the Spanish midfield is just awesome. All four of the sides coming through to the semis had got there by filling the middle of the park with top draw passers, tacklers and dribblers but, in the end, Xavi, Iniesta and co demonstrated once again that they are in a different league.

 

Ok, you can make a statistical argument that says this Spanish side isn’t as good as the one that won four years ago - I saw a figure suggesting they took just over thirty passes to create a shooting opportunity then, forty-something in 2010 and more than fifty this time round.

 

But for me that’s just about the forwards. When Torres has been on the pitch, looking to get behind defences, Spain have created opportunities almost at will and not needed to keep turning back and square. My only explanation for del Bosque’s insistence on opting for Fabregas is that he wants to wear out teams before introducing some pace into attack. I think he’s probably done enough to earn the benefit of the doubt on the tactical front.

Surely it’s now time to listen to the fans and make sure that Euro 2012 won’t be remembered as the last great European tournament

 

Tonight, Italy were quite simply run off the park. They looked tired anyway; they suffered from injuries clearly; Prandelli might be thinking he’d have been better off sticking with the 3-5-2 formation that worked in the first game between these two. In truth, though, it’s hard to see that anything would have made a difference.

 

And the Azzurri have much to be proud of. After the dark clouds over the national game coming into the tournament they surprised a lot of people and, in Andrea Pirlo had my player of the tournament. I know the choice will be controversial after he was so anonymous in the final but given what he was up against I don’t consider that performance to be a fair reflection of what he did as a whole. The only other individual to have come close in terms of deciding the outcome of games for his team was Zlatan Ibrahimovic but he didn’t chip in a penalty with his team looking to be heading out of a penalty shootout.

 

The tournament’s had so many highlights but surprisingly few of them have involved goals. My personal favourite memory will be Buffon applauding the Irish fans who did so much to uphold the reputation of the country’s football after the team’s surrenders on the pitch.

 

And yet, after all that, Uefa still seem dead set on ruining everything by increasing the number of teams to 24, introducing dead rubbers and pointless mismatches and spreading it over 12 cities. Come on, Mr Platini, we’re already established that the fifth official was a stupid idea, surely it’s now time to listen to the fans and make sure that Euro 2012 won’t be remembered as the last great European tournament.

6Comments
02/07/2012 09:40
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Enhorabuena a espana. Lo mereces. Well done Spain. I was lucky enough to be in Madrid the last time they won the Euros and the atmosphere was amazing. I think theres gonna be a few headaches this morning. For those who criticise their style of play - would you rather Spain won it 4-0 their way or the way Greece won 1-0 in 2004?
03/07/2012 01:08
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Alan hansen said the brazil of the 70's is the best team he has seen and it was a very entertaining team however they wouldnt beat spain of now, one the players now are more athletic also its more technical now, but its more how do ya beat a team you cant get the ball off. It doesnt matter how skilful pele was or the others were they would of been chasing ghosts.
02/07/2012 12:36
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I had a strong feeling they would win again and make history and they did. Good on them, but the question is this will they be able to do it again in two years time at the world cup. Will that be 1 step too far. But if they dont, i cant see any other national team in the world ever taking this achievement off them in concession. SPAIN one hell of a team well done
02/07/2012 09:49
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Do you know what a the start of this tournament i said spain will win.

The amount of stick i got from people saying spain are to old it will be a france german final, it amazed me bearing in mind they where world and euro champs.

Then there were comments like i obviously dont know nothing about football.

Well yesterday i put my money where my mouth is and put 500 on spain to win in 90 mins at evens but thats not my point.

The thing i dont get is why the so called experts believed that anyone bar spain could win it.

Look the spanish players are very good players but its the system that no other country has had an answer to.

But here is the thing it doesn't matter if they get older as a team because they actually dont as a team do that much work they let the ball work for them.

Everyone is saying brazil will win the next world cup will they?.

Here is another historical fact,  spain  are the only european team to win the world cup outside if europe 2010 south africa.

I honestly think they will win the next world cup because no one seems to realise you have to beat the system not the players.

I have never ever been so sure of a team winning a tournament as i was of spain winning this one.

 

02/07/2012 11:27
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Hahahahaha hohohoho hehehehe, 4-0  Viva Espana, my home team beat Italy easily, for once Italy could not cheat their way to victory, in fact I can’t  think of a time when Italy did not win a major tournament without cheating.   I hope now Italy realises they are not a credible football nation, even Tiny Croatia played much better against us.  Italy should stick to other team sports like Rugby, no actually it’s a sportsman’s game and you can’t cheat in it and that’s precisely why Italy is always last!  When a football team with real talent and chemistry gets together no one else can beat them even with all the play acting and rolling around crying to the referee.  Grow up Italy and one day you may just win an honest game for once, but then again you probably don’t understand what this actually means as cheating is a way of life in your corrupt society.  Spain has a team England would love but then again most of them cut their teeth playing at the home of football in England.  I hope this is a turning point in the game and cameras are used in future lime they are in Rugby to double check controversial decisions, this way we can clean the game up and true fans will feel once again the game their grandfather’s loved to watch once again has a sportsman’s quality about it

02/07/2012 11:27
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Hahahahaha hohohoho hehehehe, 4-0  Viva Espana, my home team beat Italy easily, for once Italy could not cheat their way to victory, in fact I can’t  think of a time when Italy did not win a major tournament without cheating.   I hope now Italy realises they are not a credible football nation, even Tiny Croatia played much better against us.  Italy should stick to other team sports like Rugby, no actually it’s a sportsman’s game and you can’t cheat in it and that’s precisely why Italy is always last!  When a football team with real talent and chemistry gets together no one else can beat them even with all the play acting and rolling around crying to the referee.  Grow up Italy and one day you may just win an honest game for once, but then again you probably don’t understand what this actually means as cheating is a way of life in your corrupt society.  Spain has a team England would love but then again most of them cut their teeth playing at the home of football in England.  I hope this is a turning point in the game and cameras are used in future lime they are in Rugby to double check controversial decisions, this way we can clean the game up and true fans will feel once again the game their grandfather’s loved to watch once again has a sportsman’s quality about it

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  • Matt HollandMatt Holland

    Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Matt Holland talks all things football from the Premier League to the grass roots.

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