Viva Espana! Spain have won the 2012 European Championships. Deservedly again. Repeating their victory in 2008, and entering the history books as the only team that has won three major national team titles in a row. They demonstrated clearly, that they are not only the best team in the world but also, that they might well be the best team that has ever played football.
The Spanish win because each player is technically superior. They play with no strikers and six midfielder who can all score. Spain reserved their best for last, as they destroyed the Italian "Azzurri" 4-0. The final lasted only 14 minutes, time enough for Fabregas to run by Chiellini and set up David Silva for a lightning quick head goal.
After that the Spanish had control of the game, pressing Andrea Pirlo on every ball, who valiantly tried to fight back single handedly. No one player can defeat this Spanish machine. Ronaldo tried with Portugal, and the Spanish put a muzzle on him. Pirlo tried and the Spanish crowded him with four players sometimes.
The Spanish team scored 12 goals and allowed only 1 in this European championship. Their defense of captain Iker Casillas in goal, Arbeloa, Pique, and Sergio Ramos is the best in the world, Jordi Alba on the left, showed why Barcelona just spent 14 million for him, scoring a spectacular goal, slicing the Italian defence after a 60 yard dash.
The Spanish midfield is its great strength. Italy had upset the favored Germans in the semifinal by defeating their talented midfield of Khedira, Ozil, and Schweinsteiger. In the final the Spanish gave the Italians a lesson on how to open space, one touch passes, and control.
The outstanding Spanish generation of Xavi, Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta, and David Silva, are individual stars that work in a machine. You stop one, the other five are still there, they press, create, and even finish. Coach Vicente Del Bosque put Fabregas up front, and he created panic in the Italian defense, setting up David Silva.
Spain has revolutionized football as we know it, playing with no strikers, and using a talented player like Fabregas to open spaces for the incoming midfielders. Even Torres seemed to have regained his confidence as he came in towards the end of the game to score two goals.
This European tournament gave us a surprise contender, Italy, a major disappointment Holland, and an eternal hopeful Germany. The Germans were expected to be the team that would give the favored Spain their hardest challenge, but they never got to the final. They ran into an energized Italian team that beat them in the semi-final deservedly.
The Germans might have given the magnificent Spanish a better game, but the result would have been the same. Holland came into this championship as the 2nd best team in the world and left without making a point. The Dutch lack of defense proved fatal against the Portuguese, who made it to the semifinals with a terrific performance by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Some of the pearls of this tournament came from individuals champions. Andrea Pirlo leading Italy to the finals with brilliant pass after brilliant pass was one of the best players of the tournament, until the Spanish ganged up on him. Cristiano Ronaldo showed why, with Messi, he is considered the best player on the planet as he scored two priceless goals versus the Czechs.
Ibrahimovic probably scored the goal of the tournament with a magnificent half volley against France. Twenty one year old, Super Mario Balotelli, finally came of age scoring two fantastic goals against German, one of which of such power that German goalie Neuer is still wondering where it went. Andriy Shevchenko, scoring 2 memorable goals for his country, at home, gave his country hope and pride.
Ukraine and Poland dismissed all doubters, by organizing and staging one of the best European championships in memory. The hospitality and hotel services were superb. The Stadiums they built magnificent, the pitches perfect, no negative episodes marred the tournament that had as its motto, "Respect" for diversity. Well done.
The Spanish team should be an inspiration for all aspiring football players in India. It’s not size or strength that matters. It is ability and heart. The Spanish player have honed their skills since they could walk. They practiced, improved, and practiced and improved, in hundreds of games.
Skill is natural talent plus practice. Every Spanish player can dribble, control the ball, pass, shoot, and score, because of their dedication to their sport. They play as a unit, a team, no superstars, with incredible humility. That is their great strength and why they repeated as European champions. With only two years to go they could well repeat as world champions too in Brazil.
Let’s see if the world can catch up with La Furia Roja by 2014.More columns