Friday, 1 July 2011

Spanish Dominance....


It would be hard to bet against this becoming a familiar sight.

After Spain gold medal at the just concluded Under 21 World Championships, what we’ve long suspected has been confirmed; Spain are not just the kingpins of world football at the moment, they are going to be top dogs for a while yet. In case anyone was still any doubt, or had the idea that the European and World champions are resting on their laurels, think again.

The consummate ease with which the Spanish youngsters swatted aside all opposition in the youth tournament points to a decade or so of dominance for ‘La Furia Roja’.  Along the way, they gave England a lesson in possession football- as if the Brits needed another of those after Wembley. They then beat the other favorites Czech Republic 2-0. In the semis, they showed the mettle to go with their craft, in coming back from a goal down to tie the game at the stroke of full time against Belarus. They then ruthlessly scored twice in injury time to advance to the final.

 In the final, Switzerland was swept aside 2-0 with young Barcelona midfield maestro Thiago Alcantara, a contender for player of the championships, majestically stroking in a 40 yard free-kick to seal the inevitable victory. Over the course of the tournament, Spain had a mind blowing  possession average of nearly 70%, I kid you not.

Xavi Hernandez 2.0?
The mastery that young Thiago Alcantara (above) showed on the ball is reminiscent of a young Xavi, albeit with a certain arrogance in possession which could be attributed to his Brazilian roots, or the blood of football royalty that flows in his veins- he is a son of the Brazilian 1994 World Cup Winner Mazinho. Luckily for him, he doesn't have the goal hodoo that plagued his father and made him famous at the 1994 World Cup. I can’t believe Barca even entertained the thought of using this kid as a make-weight in the protracted and now boring transfer saga involving Cesc Fabregas!

 He isn’t the only one. Juan Mata is world class. David de Gea has to be a quality goalkeeper. I can only speculate on this one because like many a Spanish keeper nowadays, he hardly saw any action. I think I’ll trust Sir Alex’s judgment on this one. The team was stacked with such talent that Barcelona first team players Borjan Kirkic and Jeffren Saurez weren’t regular starters. I suspect Borjan would start in the senior squads of most European national teams. (I won’t name names) Diego Capel who has been a regular at Sevilla also had to settle for a spot on the bench for most of the tournament.

It turns out there are a lot more Xavis and Iniestas where the current ones came from. The carousel seems to be churning out brilliant youngsters like a well oiled German assembly line. One can see these young guns readily stepping into the giant shoes of the current generation and continuing the winning tradition, all the while producing an entertaining(for fans) yet suffocating and overwhelming brand of possession football that will take some getting to terms with.

Congratulations to Spain. In my opinion, they look set to be to the next decade, what Brazil was to the 90s. They may not win the World Cup or the European championship every trip (that’s impossible anyway) but they’ll be the team to beat. The animosity between the 'Big Two', Barcelona and Real Madrid could prove to be the only stumbling block to utter domination as Spanish national team coach Vincete del Bosque warned, in the heat of last season's 'El Classico' battles 

On a sad note.

River Plate, Argentina’s most successful club with 33 league titles got relegated last weekend for the first time in their history, amid violent scenes. Fans tried to lynch everyone they felt was culpable for this atrocity- which meant everyone absent and present. The club that gave the world Hernan Crespo, Ariel Ortega and Marcelo Salas was relegated!

No comments:

Post a Comment