It doesn't end here...

Well, Euro 2010 is finally over, and our Spanish friends are now crowing about winning three titles in a row. Now some of us may find them boring, but let us congratulate them on what is a magnificent achievement. The Nationalmannschaft reached three major tournament finals in succession in the 1970s, but were not able to clinch the third one in 1976. Spain have managed to do this, and the feat is unlikely to be repeated for a long time.

Yes, we are all disappointed – more so given the ease with which the Spaniards swept poor Italy aside. The Italians were tired and tactically outplayed, but more crucially their luck ran out – summed up by the withdrawal of Thiago Motta just four minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute, leaving his side to play with ten men. Their final had come three days earlier in Warsaw.

Might Germany have given Spain a better match? On paper, almost certainly. But given the Joachim Löw’s arguably negative approach towards the Italy match, I have this nagging feeling that the Maharishi Jogi might have tinkered with the tactics again and set up a disaster. Maybe the Italy result was a good thing; maybe now the coach will just allow the team to do its thing like Vicente del Bosque has done for Spain.

The Spanish team are not good just because they do what they do and do it well, but because they trust in their ability to do what they can do – and because the coach trusts them.

I’ll be turning out a tournament review in the next few days, but for now I’d like to thank all of those who visited the site during the tournament and provided their excellent comments. It doesn’t stagger to a halt here, however: yes, a tournament has just come to an end – but after what will no doubt be a short summer the new season will begin in earnest. Like with Euro 2012, I will be following the Nationalmannschaft closely on the road to Brazil 2014.

There will be more articles during the course of the summer – including more from the One-Cap Wonders series, and team news and discussion as the 2012-13 international season kicks off with a home prestige friendly against Argentina.

It doesn’t end here…
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4 thoughts on “It doesn’t end here…

  • July 4, 2012 at 07:07

    We have to give credit to spain for coming up with an innovative playing method based on high fitness to be able to always have 5 players around the ball to give the passer many options and thus bore the other teams to death. Also the fitness gives them the ability to pressure defenses high up the field and prevent them from building a proper attack move. In Barcelona they have Messi which makes it easier to exploit the other defence’s boredom in a moment of brilliance. With Spain it’s more difficult. However, I think the extended success of this Spain/Barcelona generation is mainly due to the inability of other coaches to crack the Spanish which I find very weird. Coaches like Mourinho and Di Matteo have already Ed out how to deal with them.. Either beat them at their own game or just sit behind the ball and let them pass as much as they like. Ther wierd thing is why other coaches still haven’t figured it out yet.

    • July 4, 2012 at 09:20

      I think Di Matteo was lucky to be honest – well lucky in that his policy was to allow his team to play their own game with one particular goal in mind. This was simply to shut the opposition down by playing a highly defensive game. While this worked brilliantly in the first leg of the CL semi against Barca, we need to remember that Chelsea would have been long forgotten if Messi had scored that penalty.

      Mourinho again has his own approach, and I have found that that tends to take precedence over any tactical adaptation based on the opposition.

      • July 4, 2012 at 09:46

        The Spanish passing game is designed to force the other team to run around behind the ball. If you we look at statistics of the Spain/Barcelona games, it is always a fact that the other team has covered much more distance than Spain/Barcelona. Either the other team gets tired or bored and agitated, either way they are doomed for failure. And once Spain scored their first goal, the game is almost over. They are in no hurry, they just pass the ball forever until they find another opening and another and another.

        However, the longer they don’t score or if they fall behind, their game becomes more frantic and disorganized. I have noticed it many times like against Croatia or Real Madrid. So the only way to deal with them in my opinion is to just sit back and let them pass their heart out or put real high pressure on their individual players man-to-man, not like the half hearted pressure most teams try to do nowadays which only makes things worse and which is exactly what they want you to do. Given that no team except Spain can do that for 90 minutes, maybe a mix of sitting back in one half and pressuring in the other makes sense.

        As for Spain’s tactics when they don’t have the ball, which is mainly pressure the defenders to play long balls, I believe that teams either need to be able to play those long balls accurately to build fast counter attacks against the-by then- thin defensive presence, or just get the Midfield closer to the defence to be able to play shorter passes and get rid of the pressure which would disrupt Spain’s game.

  • July 2, 2012 at 14:28

    If truth be told the Spanish team could have more than likely played their second 11 throughout the tournament and still won the title. I agree with you Chef – I think a disaster might well have been on the cards if the Mannschaft had reached the final. Thanks for the reviews.


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