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What now for world champions Spain?

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Phil Minshull | 10:01 UK time, Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The dust has finally settled on Spain's post-World Cup celebrations.

The bunting has come down, the litter finally cleared away from the banks of the Manzanares where more than half-a-million people welcomed the team on the their return to Spain and most hangovers have receded, even if many football fans across the country are still walking around with smiles on their faces.

So this seems like a good moment to ask, where do Vicente Del Bosque and his merry men go from here? Mexico is the initial answer.

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Spain play their first match as world champions on Wednesday with a long trip across the Atlantic to face the team that made the last 16 in South Africa. Sadly, it is a game that very few people, particular the core group of Del Bosque's squad, really want.

"I think we are all still tired," reflected Spain captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, hinting that the aftermath of the World Cup was still taking a mental toll even if the physical one was starting to recede.

Most of the home-based players have only just returned to training with their clubs in the last week or so after an extended vacation following their exertions in South Africa.

Barcelona have made public their unhappiness with the game in Mexico. With the first leg of their Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla coming up on Saturday, they thought Del Bosque's inclusion of seven Barca players in his squad was excessive.

Nevertheless, Del Bosque is wise enough to know that, despite their success in South Africa, it is now time for Spain to get back to business.

The start of qualifying for the European Championship looms in September and Del Bosque now has to try to refresh the parts of a national team that only a coach can reach.

At least he can count himself fortunate that the Euro 2008 winners will kick off their Euro 2012 campaign with a relatively easy match against Liechtenstein on 3 September.

For the Mexico trip, Del Bosque has left out only five players from his World Cup winning-squad - three because of injury - but perhaps has squandered the chance to introduce some new blood and legs as well as the opportunity to give more of his World Cup winners a chance to recover.

"We are always very concerned and sensitive to the needs of the clubs, it also must be so, but I believe there are sufficient grounds to have a lot of the World Cup squad at this game," said Del Bosque.

"I don't want to get accused of unfairness to one club or another and this is a serious international match because Mexico is celebrating its bicentennial. I have always believed that the squad which best represents us are those men who are the reigning world champions. Nor do I have a signed contract [with the clubs] that requires me to do one thing or another."

Barcelona and, to a slightly lesser extent, Real Madrid, Del Bosque's former employers, have been put in their places.

The injured players missing the trip to Mexico from the 23 whose place in Spanish history is assured are Real Madrid's Raul Albiol, who, along with the Liverpool pair of Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina, has been left out because of injury.

Andres Iniesta, the man who clinched the Cup for Spain, has also been left out because of 'special circumstances', which basically means that Del Bosque has bowed to Barca pleas to give him a break, while Javi Martinez , Athletic Bilbao's impressive young midfielder, has dropped down to captain the Spain Under-21 side against Finland on Wednesday.

Bruno SorianoVillarreal's Bruno Soriano could make his international debut against Mexico

To fill some of the gaps, Del Bosque has recalled Villarreal's Euro 2008 stalwart Santi Cazorla, who was not fully fit ahead of the World Cup, and Osasuna's left-sided defender Nacho Monreal, who won two caps last year. Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano has also been called up and could make his international debut.

Looking ahead, Del Bosque has some key problems to resolve.

Persistent fitness concerns over Torres mean the manager will have to find a new partner for David Villa. The likes of Llorente, Pedro or even Barcelona's Bojan Krkic could get plenty of playing time in a Spanish jersey during September and October.

It was a surprise to many, including me, that Krkic did not get the nod for the Mexico game but that might have been one blow too many for Barca to handle and still keep the exchanges between themselves and the Spanish Football Federation reasonably dignified.

Del Bosque, I am sure, will also take a critical eye to some other aspects of Spain's displays in South Africa. Yes, they were deserved winners but they were far from flawless.

Spain were an effective and creative force on the field for most of their matches but the result in each of their four games after the group stages was still only 1-0. Plenty argued this was hardly a knockout blow to the rest of the world even if they did lift the trophy.

Critical and sober eyes at home have zoomed in on the performances of Sergio Busquets and Joan Capdevilla, which is probably a reason for the return of Cazorla and Monreal.

Carles Puyol also seems to have lost some of his appetite for pulling on a Spanish vest and, although he recently demurred from announcing his international retirement and said that he would stay on until 2012, there must be serious doubts about whether he will get the 10 games he wants to become only the fourth - or fifth, if Xavi gets there first - Spanish player to reach his century.

However, central defenders have never been one area where Spain has been lacking.

Just as Pique replaced Marchena in the starting line-up in the wake of Euro 2008, so Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Dominguez and Athletic's Mikel San Jose, the latter a product of Liverpool's development programme and, like Dominguez, an outstanding under-21 international, are waiting in the wings to take Puyol's place.

Comments on this blog in the space below. Other questions on European football to: europeanfootball@hotmail.co.uk. I don't need your full address but please put the town/city and country where you come from.

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  • 1. At 12:16pm on 10 Aug 2010, Caludrup wrote:

    Interesting to see they play only Leichtenstein in the first qualifiers for Euro2012 in September, before a friendly against Argentina. At the start of October they have it tougher against Lithuania and then Scotland at Hampden.

    Do you think they will avoid the pitfalls of a tired Italy who drew against Lithuania and lost to France straight after their World Cup in 2006? Or do you think it will be business as usual and by October they will have recovered?

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  • 2. At 12:46pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    I hope they play Brazil soon and get trounced like the overrated side they are. They didn't play the best football and they weren't the best team. Why has this incessant brown nosing by the BBC continued for so long?

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  • 3. At 12:50pm on 10 Aug 2010, hackerjack wrote:

    Lituania and Sotland are also a pretty easy test for them to pass. The comparison with Italy is useless as Italy were at the time picking themselves up from several retirements and relying on several others who should have followed suit. Spain have no such problems.

    As for getting trounced by Brazil? If Spain did not play the best football (and results would dictate they did) then they were still far better than Brazil who looked lacking in any real creative spark short of several selfishly solo runs by Robinho and one lovely pass by Kaka yet did not either have the defensive solidarity of previous years.

    As for the brown nosing? They are European and World champions, is there a better reason for praising a team?

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  • 4. At 1:00pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    You're telling me results determine you played better? Have you ever watched a game of football?

    Lacking in any creative spark? Brazil had real incision in their play. They could pass forwards and when the pass wasn't on dribble, something Spain couldn't do which is what the Swiss realised. As for the accolades, yes, they won them, but I heard less praise for Greece when they won the Euro, why? Because they weren't the best side.

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  • 5. At 1:04pm on 10 Aug 2010, Paul Scholes is the best tackler in the Game wrote:

    Has Arteta STILL not got a call-up??? Honestly, what does the guy have to do to be recognised over there.

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  • 6. At 1:06pm on 10 Aug 2010, U11846789 wrote:

    @ Fenomeno

    They didn't play the best football and they weren't the best team.

    -------

    Fortunately the facts speak for themselves: Spain are European AND World Champions.

    I'm afraid you'll just have to live with your bitterness.
































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  • 7. At 1:10pm on 10 Aug 2010, buymespresso wrote:

    @2 brown nosing? Really? As #3 says, they are the European and World champions. That said, I do agree that it would be cool to see them play Brazil or Argentina some time. (Though to be perfectly honest, the match I'd like to see is Spain vs Barcelona... though that's an impossible match.)

    But Mexico are a darn good team - and it's good that Obelix (http://twitpic.com/24d30q) is taking a full squad to celebrate the Mexican bicentennial. Shows respect for the biggest Spanish-speaking country in the world.

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  • 8. At 1:11pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @ 4 Fenomeno

    Spain are reigning World and European champions. Between 2008-2009 they set an International record of 15 consecutive wins. Between 2007-2009 they went 35 games unbeaten another International record (shared with Brazil). They qualified with another International record of 10 wins out of 10 for the last World Cup. They are currently ranked the number 1 team in the World.

    So how exactly are they over rated?

    P.S If Spain can't pass forward, I guess you missed their winning goal in the World Cup Final?

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  • 9. At 1:11pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ The Mindland 20

    Fortunately the facts speak for themselves: Spain are European AND World Champions.

    I'm afraid you'll just have to live with your bitterness.

    ----------------------

    Don't mistake my disappointment for bitterness. I'm disappointed Germany or Argentina didn't win over this Spain side, either of the two pose a much larger threat to Brazil's 5 wins.

    Perhaps it's you who is bitter in attempting to claim a European win as your own and rub it in my face? I lived a year in Spain, they would be laughing at this idea and attitude of a 'collective' win for Europe. Of course, you'll quote this and declare you haven't said anything of the sort, but your attitude in attempting to gun me down speaks volumes.

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  • 10. At 1:18pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ JamTay1

    So how exactly are they over rated?

    ----

    Just quickly, you haven't pointed out the far less competitive European qualification process and the fact that Spain didn't actually play Brazil in that period, who themselves only lost 5 times under Dunga's entire tenure.

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  • 11. At 1:29pm on 10 Aug 2010, FACupWinners2008 wrote:

    Spain were a very dull team to watch in this world cup finals and scored the lowest amount of goals of any winning team ever.

    So it is probably appropriate they won the 2010 world cup - considered disappointing except by the hoards of media personal who were given their first nice jolly to South Africa.

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  • 12. At 1:31pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @10 I have to agree that you do have a valid point about European Qualification been less competitive.

    But perhaps if Brazil had been good enough to beat Holland they could have played Spain in the World Cup Final.............

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  • 13. At 1:32pm on 10 Aug 2010, joshua wrote:

    Doesn't make much sense that they wouldn't take the oppurtunity to blood some future talent but who is to disagree with Del Bosque. It'll be interesting to see if the hangover exists after consecutive major tournament wins. Wouldn't be surprised to see them lose afew in this qualifying campaign.

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  • 14. At 1:34pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ JamTay1

    But perhaps if Brazil had been good enough to beat Holland they could have played Spain in the World Cup Final.............

    ---------------

    That's a fair enough point. Although I thought Brazil had putplayed Holland we didn't get the win, much as I thought Chile outplayed Spain they didn't get the win. That's football. It doesn't mean we have to pretend Spain are the best team in the world.

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  • 15. At 1:34pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @10 Also Spain beat Chile and Paraguay on their route to the World Cup Final. They also beat Geramny (who knocked Argentina out) and Holland who defeated Brazil.

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  • 16. At 1:37pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @14 Actually I agree with you on a couple of points. I felt that Brazil also outplayed Holland and the best team doesn't always progress. However I think Spains record speaks for itself.

    Also as a Brazil fan are you not slightly dissapointed with how the team was at the World Cup? I personally thought that there was not enough options to change a game from the bench. Also Kaka appeared to be carrying an injury which is a shame.

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  • 17. At 1:42pm on 10 Aug 2010, English-Players-Dont-Dive wrote:

    Fenomeno

    Very amusing posts.

    Dunga's brazil don't even play like brazil, they are a counter attack team who play 2DMs. Gilberto and Melo vs Busquets and Alonso, Brazil are set up to allow the opposition to come at them.

    May I remind you how negative teams were against spain, only chile came at them which meant a entertaining game.

    In Euro 2008, teams attacked them because they did not fear them and they were the best side to watch.

    How could Argentina beat Spain if there defence is so disorganised.

    If every team played with 10 behind the ball lets see how great Dunga's brazil would be too watch.

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  • 18. At 1:42pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ JamTay1

    However I think Spains record speaks for itself.

    -----

    Well yeah I suppose, but I'd liken it to those in Boxing. Fight a few bums and boost your credentials.

    @JT1

    Also as a Brazil fan are you not slightly dissapointed with how the team was at the World Cup? I personally thought that there was not enough options to change a game from the bench. Also Kaka appeared to be carrying an injury which is a shame.

    -----

    Hugely dissapointed. There was a very fierce backlash against Dunga and the team for their performance at SA, which in fairness I thought wasn't too negative. Kaka's injury was a shame but it wasn't as if it couldn't have been compensated for, Brazil have a large stockpile of players they can call from and whilst losing a player like Kaka is an obvious loss it's better than taking dead weight.

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  • 19. At 1:43pm on 10 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Germany were probably the most exciting side to watch, but you have to admire Spain. They pick teams apart through superb movement and collective intelligent passing. Brazil are most definitely a class below Spain at the moment.

    Spain rightly deserve the accolades in my opinion. There may be other teams with more talented individual players like Brazil or Argentina, but when it comes to playing as a team and with intelligence, there is no team better than Spain in international football. They played the best football and fully deserve the praise they get.

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  • 20. At 1:45pm on 10 Aug 2010, Tenisson wrote:

    your comment RE Puyol is just idiotic, Puyol was immense in the world cup for Spain.

    I agree though regarding capdevilla and Busquets. To be honest I thought that often, Xabi Alonso was very slow in his distribution and slowed the pace of the game down, I cannot believe that fabregas was not in front of either of busquets or fabregas. And that busquets got in the barca team ahead of yaya toure is another shocker, but that doesnt matter anymore.

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  • 21. At 1:52pm on 10 Aug 2010, guyastral wrote:

    I can't wait to see the:

    World Champions
    European Champions
    FIFA No 1 world ranked team

    ie. the BEST team in the world play against Mexico

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  • 22. At 1:53pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @ 18 Fenomeno

    I think we will have to agree to disagree about Spain!!!!

    I was expecting there to be a huge backlash against Dunga for Brazils QF exit. In some ways I think it's a bit harsh but Brazil always expects to win! I would have been tempted to leave Kaka at home as you have mentioned there is more than enough talent to compensate. I still think Dungas biggest fault was that he appeared to only trust a small set group of players to do the job.

    Anyway in 2014 I have a feeling that you might prefer the result of that World Cup!

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  • 23. At 1:57pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ JT1

    I'm just worried the pressure of being hosts won't get to the team. The 1950s players said of their failure in the final when Brazil last hosted it that afterwards it became a nightmare living in Brazil. No coach is really going to enjoy that job, the attitude has always been 2nd is the first loser with Brazil, come 2014 losing isn't even factored as a possibility.

    Supporting Brazil is nothing but nerves and anxiety :(

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  • 24. At 2:03pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @23

    I think the pressure will be the biggest problem. I should also expect that by the time 2014 comes round their will be another Manager in charge, Menezes almost appears like a stop gap appointment to me. It's hard to predict who will be strongest in 4 years time but Brazil always have a huge pool of players so will surely be amongst the favourites.

    Also I don't think you will get to much sympathy for the stresses of been a Brazil fan! lol You have by far the most succesful National team in history!

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  • 25. At 2:12pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @JT

    I think he is a stop gap appointment. The CBF didn't manage to sign their initial target so signed him, which to me just smacks of panic. We've got a few prominent youngsters coming through but my main worry is Argentina. We'd never be able to live it down if they won in Brazil and they have a relatively young side with good youngsters breaking through which means they could well do it.

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  • 26. At 2:14pm on 10 Aug 2010, Didier_Lampard wrote:

    I don't understand how anyone could argue Spain isn’t the best team in the world. That has nothing to do with me being European, and I don't believe that any real England, Germany, France or Italy fan would be claiming a "collective" victory. what rubbish.
    And the claim that Brazil would beat them is equally delusional.
    Facts are facts, as most people on here agree. As European and World champions no one can say they aren't the best team in the world, with Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Holland some way behind. OK, they didn't score as many goals as they should've but they dominate games (against top teams) like no-one else can. They just did not look like loosing (the Swiss game aside, which the controlled bar a freak goal).
    I can't see anyone touching them in the qualifiers for the Euros or the Championships themselves. Their only problem maybe with motivation after they have won so much. Everyone knows about the quality of Xavi and Iniesta and their defense is solid, I think Navas, Pedro and Silva will improve over the next couple of seasons and Fabregas and Torres can obviously contribute so much more than they did at the WC. And that's not to mention Martinez and Arteta who don't even make the squad yet (in Arteta's case mostly because of injuries I think) and the youngsters that Phil mentions!
    They just have so much class and a core of players who have been together for years and for me they could dominate world football for some time; it's a frightening concept.

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  • 27. At 2:20pm on 10 Aug 2010, rjaggar wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 28. At 2:23pm on 10 Aug 2010, ifnickybutthadbeenbrazilian wrote:

    As an Englishman who has been living in Brazil since April, I was very surprised by the reaction to the defeat in the WC. The view of the people I know here was quite the opposite of what Fenomeno is suggesting. They hated the style and the squad (Why have Felipe Melo AND G. Silva) and they actually took the defeat to Holland very well, like they were expecting it.

    I think any ideas people here had that Brazil were the best team, disappeared after the Portugal game, which IMHO was the poorest game of the entire tournament (possibly excluding Eng Algeria). However, it definately sticks in the throat that 7 of the last 8 semi-finalists have been from the 'old empire'

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  • 29. At 2:49pm on 10 Aug 2010, excellentcatblogger wrote:

    A question to Fenomeno:

    Why does the CBF and also CBD a couple of decades ago, periodically select a coach that tries to make the team play the European way?

    In 1974 under Zagalo although they were third they also deserved to lose to Scotland in the group stage they were that bad. To be fair, when zagalo tried again he went the Brazilian way of playing and won the WC. Now we saw Dunga do the same.

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  • 30. At 2:51pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @ 28

    The view of the people I know here was quite the opposite of what Fenomeno is suggesting. They hated the style and the squad (Why have Felipe Melo AND G. Silva) and they actually took the defeat to Holland very well, like they were expecting it.

    -----

    I didn't say they thought the style of the squad wasn't negative, I did say they blamed Dunga and the squad, I did say they should've brought in more attacking cover especially for Kaka (prob Ganso or Diego), they were not expecting the defeat they were expecting the win, don't shoot me down before understanding my posts.

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  • 31. At 2:59pm on 10 Aug 2010, JamTay1 wrote:

    @30 Fenomono

    I couldn't understand why Diego was not part of the squad. Also Pato doesn't seem to have 'as yet' realised his enormous potential. Still both are young enough to be stars at the next World Cup.

    @27 rjagger

    Are you seriously suggesting that you would like to see serious injury inflicted on a couple of Barcelona players? That is disgusting. You are an example of the sort of pond life that the game will be well rid of.

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  • 32. At 3:02pm on 10 Aug 2010, Jack wrote:

    Interesting that you mention Spain central defenders (especially San José) at the end Phil, what do you make of Amorebieta's decision to play for Veneuzela instead of Spain? Could he have been a regular for the Spanish national side? What has the reaction to this been in Spain?

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  • 33. At 3:03pm on 10 Aug 2010, guyastral wrote:

    Anyways.... why is everybody discussing Brazil when the blog clearly is about the world champions? as I recall Brazil didn't even make it to the semis

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  • 34. At 3:07pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @33

    Clearly it's been derailed. Thank you for declaring the obvious.

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  • 35. At 3:29pm on 10 Aug 2010, Johnnygray26 wrote:

    Most of this thread should be modded for being off topic.

    Anyway, it seems ridiculous to me that countries have to (or feel they have to) pick their best players for friendlies. What's the point in an exhausted Casillas or Xavi or indeed Rooney (we've heard a lot about his "tiredness") playing in such matches? Games like these should be used to have a look at fringe players.

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  • 36. At 3:33pm on 10 Aug 2010, Johnnygray26 wrote:

    @34

    "The obvious" includes the fact that you were the main derailer!

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  • 37. At 3:34pm on 10 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    On the European Champions thing, I get the impression that Fenomeno thought the poster was declaring that the World Champions were European, not that the World Champions also won the European Championship two years earlier. Not that we're a separatist bunch here in the UK, but I doubt most non-Spanish European football fans see this as a win in any way, shape or form.

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  • 38. At 3:42pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @36

    "The obvious" includes the fact that you were the main derailer!

    -----

    I didn't say I wasn't. I said it was obvious it had been derailed, by me or another user.

    @37

    Not that we're a separatist bunch here in the UK, but I doubt most non-Spanish European football fans see this as a win in any way, shape or form.

    -----

    Fair enough.

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  • 39. At 3:44pm on 10 Aug 2010, JoC wrote:

    It will be interesting to see if the younger players like Javi Martinez, Krkic, Alvaro Dominguez and Mikel San Jose flourish under the weight of expectations a now 'World Champion Team', whether they are inspired by it or it becomes a burden that they face continually comparison to their victorious predecessors as with the French?

    ...ofcourse English players like Wilshere and Gibbs won't have to worry about that sort of thing as it's been so long since Charlton, Hurst et Al (Shearer) many of us weren't even born to remember them ;(

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  • 40. At 4:26pm on 10 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    Canales is perhaps the most promising but also the most under pressure to succeed young Spanish player. Real Madrid should be pressure enough to prepare him for Spain I guess.

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  • 41. At 4:41pm on 10 Aug 2010, inakiz wrote:

    Mikel San Jose a poduct of the youth development at Liverpool? Till 2005 in his local club, two years in Bilbao, two more at Liverpool in the second tema with a handfull of first team training seasons and back to bilbao for last season... I hardly can see how this qualifies as a youth development case from Liverpool nor Bilbao, however, L'pool is bought for 400K and sold it for 2.7 mill. two years later, not bad business for someone that never broke into the first team.

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  • 42. At 5:05pm on 10 Aug 2010, Arto79 wrote:

    Albiol is not injured, in fact he's playing the Real Madrid pre-season games, so I guess he's been left out because of the same 'special circumstances' why Iniesta was left out. Don't you think, Mr. Phil?

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  • 43. At 5:14pm on 10 Aug 2010, Patrick wrote:

    Just a couple of observations from your comments Phil

    'but perhaps has squandered the chance to introduce some new blood and legs as well as the opportunity to give more of his World Cup winners a chance to recover.'

    The Spanish Federation has signed a contract with Mexico meaning that the majority of the world cup winning side HAD to travel and play.

    'It was a surprise to many, including me, that Krkic did not get the nod for the Mexico game but that might have been one blow too many for Barca to handle and still keep the exchanges between themselves and the Spanish Football Federation reasonably dignified.'

    Did you not know that he is playing for Spain in the U21 match against Finland tomorrow?



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  • 44. At 6:11pm on 10 Aug 2010, Stargazer wrote:

    To an extent I agree with some of the criticisms of Spain in the World Cup but, only to an extent. They scored fewer goals in the whole tournament than Germany did in just its first two games of the second phase, but they were effective in scoring the critical goals, when they mattered, save against Switzerland. And their qualifying record was extraordinary. At time Spain were not pretty, but time and time again they scored when they needed to and, in a knock-out tournament, a 1-0 win is just as good as a 4-0.

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  • 45. At 6:29pm on 10 Aug 2010, jus9ball wrote:

    Brazil seemed more entertaining to the ill-educated eye because opponents thought they were there for the taking and went for them (the Dutch being the perfect example). Whereas Spain are playing football to such an incredibly high standard that the opponents are intent on only defending or resorting to kicking lumps out of them (the Dutch being the perfect example yet again). I’m convinced that the approach taken by their opponents is conducive to a lower goal count from Spain.

    Spain lost their opening game to the Swiss. As reigning European Champions under the closest of scrutiny, the most intense pressure and the high expectation levels, did they panic? Did they launch it long? No! They stuck to what they believed in and produced a standard of football that makes them one of the truly great sides in the history of International Football.

    Yes, we all love a 5-3 score line, but international football isn’t like that anymore and hasn’t been for 20+ years. When will people understand what a truly wonderful side Spain have been for the last 2-3 years. The likes of Casillas, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa etc, would walk into any World Cup winning team in the history of the competition.

    As a proud Englishman, this is begrudging praise for Jonny Foreigner. But I can’t bury my head in the sand and pretend that such a great team are over-rated and boring. They achieved what the Dutch (74), the Brazilians (82) and the Yugoslavs (90) failed to do..... Ensuring the best team in the world deservedly won the World Cup.

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  • 46. At 7:51pm on 10 Aug 2010, rezurextion wrote:

    @ FENOMENO

    You are clearly a deluded Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima and Brazil fan, and you are so bitter it is extremely funny and entertaining reading your posts....keep it up, you're a comedian and you don't even know it....

    Spain have been absolutely OUTSTANDING over the last few years.

    So much so that most teams have now resorted to simply DEFEND against Spain, and the Dutch were so petrified they tried to purposely injur their players.

    It is VERY difficult to play against teams that go out to just defend. I thought Spain dealt with ever situation incredibly well.

    Spain are by FAR the best team in the world....their squad is ridiculous! Silva, Fabregas, Llorente, plus other great players on the bench? pffff......

    Sorry Fenomeno, you are sad and bitter boyo.....

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  • 47. At 8:56pm on 10 Aug 2010, lamejorliga wrote:

    No one can doubt that Spain were deserved Champions. The reason they didn't score a lot was because everyone was so defensive against them. Brazil had nothing, the worst Brazilian team I've ever seen. And England, shocking!! These three teams were the pre-tournament favourites and the best team won clearly, anyone who argues against classic passing obviously has no idea about football. I think a lot of people posting on this website fall into that category. Spain have 10,000 UEFA qualified coaches, England have 200. Perhaps that has something to do with superior quality of technical football Spain have been working towards for the last 20 years after their poor showing at the '82 World Cup. If England re-structure now they might finally play some decent stuff. Another 20 years of hurt begins now.

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  • 48. At 8:59pm on 10 Aug 2010, RoamingRanger2 wrote:

    For FENOMENO

    Oh dear, someone needs to wake up & smell the coffee. Someone lost to Holland in the qtrs & Spain dismantled the Dutch in the Final to become diserved World Champions. Speaking as a neutral, Spain were an absolute joy to watch & I'm sorry, Brasil somewhat less so.

    Have a nice day

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  • 49. At 9:19pm on 10 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    The pressure on Real Madrid and Barcelona players competing against themselves in the tough La Liga League and playing in Europe, no rest in summer winning European and World Cups and playing in the confederation Cup, surely these Spanish players especially the Barcelona ones who were also playing and winning World Club championship must burn out soon.

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  • 50. At 10:05pm on 10 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    fenomeno

    it must be difficult to accept Brazil is no longer the dominant football force on this planet. They no longer have the accolade of being the best team nor playing the best football, this clearly belongs to Spain and nothing you say will change that fact!!

    No wonder you are worried about 2014!! Spain have conquered Europe and Africa and Latin America are next on the list.

    Spain will no doubt be favourites to win the next world cup

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  • 51. At 10:13pm on 10 Aug 2010, daib0 wrote:

    #47 - great post Calum - spot on !!

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  • 52. At 10:56pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @46

    Spain are by FAR the best team in the world....their squad is ridiculous! Silva, Fabregas, Llorente, plus other great players on the bench? pffff......

    Sorry Fenomeno, you are sad and bitter boyo.....

    -----

    Heavens! They have individuals! Well you've put me in my place haven't you? Who did Argentina have again let's see...

    Messi, Tevez, Aguero, Milito, Veron, Higuain, etc. Your arguments are compelling. Please do continue.

    Again, I'm not bitter, just disappointed at the state of football these days, but you can pretend it's bitterness all you like.

    @48

    By that same principle, Greece beat everyone on their way to the Euro win in 2004. Best team in Europe there? Another flawed argument. You can clutch at straws all you like.

    I did have a nice day, I trust yours was lovely.

    @50

    They still are the dominant force in world football. Basic economics will tell you a higher production rate will yield much more favourable results. Argentina and Brazil produce the most footballers by far and they're of a much higher standard (philosophically speaking) than anyone else in the world. It's only getting better in South America, so indulge as much as you want in Brazil bashing whilst you can, you're obviously a fair weather fan and a short sighted one at that.

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  • 53. At 11:08pm on 10 Aug 2010, thefrogstar wrote:

    They should organise a match with New Zealand: the only team not to lose a match at the World Cup.

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  • 54. At 11:15pm on 10 Aug 2010, Wengerpore wrote:

    Fenomeno - not quite sure what planet you watch your football on - maybe you need to check the lens on your telescope. Spain have been the best side in world football for some time now, and that is exemplified by the approach taken by the way Holland tried to play them in the final: a Dutch side that had until that point been a proper footballing team through total football out of the window and resorted to thuggery. That is a testament to how the rest of the world appreciates the quality of Spain's football. Had Mourinho been coaching the opposition, then maybe you would have seen a more effective "anti-football" approach as you got in the Champions League semi-final, but when Spain are in full flow, there is nothing better. They did not win the European Championship and World Cup by accident - they won them on merit.

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  • 55. At 11:19pm on 10 Aug 2010, spainby2 wrote:

    Up to the semi-finals every team played very defensively against Spain. Only Germany tried to play as equal and we all know how difficult it is to beat Germany. Holland came out to break somebody's leg. It would be great if teams came out against Spain with an offensive style, but I am afraid that for now they are too afraid to do so. Finally, we Spain's fans have suffered for many, many years, please let us enjoy this for now. Thanks

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  • 56. At 11:26pm on 10 Aug 2010, Paul the Greatest wrote:

    Spain had the best individuals going into this turnament easily. Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Casillas, Reina, Alonso, Fabregas, Puyol. Apart from Casillas who's been up and down lately, either of those players are world class and IN form players. Neither Brazil nor Argentina has this amount of talent working for them, not in their selected squads anyway.

    Spain played bellow expectations without doubt. But... BUT, they've thoroughly outplayed Germany (1-0 is definitely not a clear reflection of that game) and they've outplayed Holland. Both those teams looked significantly better than Brazil or Argentina. So in a fantasy match up, especially against a side with an awful defense like Argentina, I'd expect Spain to win, because when the level was raised, they've raised the level. Proven.

    And once again, that's Spain playing bellow expectations.

    Spain's current side really has nothing to prove. Because... European Champions, World Champions. With many of their players being CL Champions. I'd say it's more than just a coincidence or just luck.

    In this up and coming EC, it would seem too much for Spain to win it, but, but, I see no reason for them not being able to do it, other than lack of motivation and luck. The talent will still be there in two years time.

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  • 57. At 11:30pm on 10 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @55

    Chile played a backline of 3 defenders against you and toyed with your players before the keeper made a bizarre decision and threw the game away. Then came the red card which wasn't and after that Chile managed to score whereas Spain threw on the extra midfielder for the striker and played out the last 15 minutes. I hope you do enjoy your win, but let's not marvel over what wasn't now.

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  • 58. At 11:30pm on 10 Aug 2010, RidRed wrote:

    As to why Spain are taking such a strong squad, and not experimenting, Phil makes the point "Mexico is celebrating its bicentennial".

    Mexico have invited Spain to play a "friendly" which forms part of the Mexican celebrations of the two-hundredth anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. It's quite a big deal. For Spain to have sent a development squad would have been a massive insult. That's not just about politics or football.

    As a Scotland fan, I hope we can take something (a point at Hampden?) from Spain, but let's be honest, they will be able to introduce players during the 2012 qualifiers.

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  • 59. At 11:46pm on 10 Aug 2010, Wengerpore wrote:

    getting back on subject, there is no concern about the production line of talent coming through the ranks either - Fabregas at 23 will be at the peak of his game come 2014, by which time the pick of the Under 19 squad that trounced us in the Semi's will be fully fledged internationals.

    As one poster has already indicated, this is a result of 20 years of effort in Spain to produce a coaching network and youth development scheme that is world class. So Del Bosque has little to concern him I'd say.

    Moving back off point again, if England had learned from their disappointment in the same tournament, would we need quite so much foreign talent in the premier league now? There is still time to get things right before 2018, but only just - given the evidence so far though, I just don't expect anything but hot air to come from the FA and the Premier League - neither of them have the moxy to do anything but talk - if Sir Trev was given the freedom to do what he knows needs to be done, we'd have hope, but all we'll get is the same old blather.

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  • 60. At 11:49pm on 10 Aug 2010, rezurextion wrote:

    : Fenomeno

    A friendly suggestion, stop writing gibberish, people are LAUGHHING at you....

    I know it's difficult to accept that nowadays Ronaldo eats more burgers than scores goals and Ronaldinho is way past his best....But Brazil can't be the best all of the time....Just accept it....This Brazil team has some absolutely RUBBISH players....You guys are not that great anymore....But still very good though =)

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  • 61. At 00:17am on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @60

    I know it's difficult to accept that nowadays Ronaldo eats more burgers than scores goals and Ronaldinho is way past his best....But Brazil can't be the best all of the time....Just accept it....This Brazil team has some absolutely RUBBISH players....You guys are not that great anymore....But still very good though =)

    -----

    It's not difficult to accept that Ronaldo has fattened up and Ronaldinho's not the force he was. Where on Earth did that come from? Again, stop trying to belittle my arguments using irrelevant and patronising points. Say something of sustenance or don't respond to me. It's not about Brazil, it's about football you narrow minded posters. Stop calling me bitter, we all know this WC was probably the worst in living memory only I'm the only one with enough courage to actually speak my mind.

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  • 62. At 00:49am on 11 Aug 2010, Grendel wrote:

    Fenomeno wrote:

    (@ JamTay1 However I think Spains record speaks for itself.)

    -----

    Well yeah I suppose, but I'd liken it to those in Boxing. Fight a few bums and boost your credentials.

    ________________________________________________________________________

    @Fenomeno
    What a ridiculously stupid thing to say. You've said some very stupid things on this blog, but this must be the the pick of the bunch.

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  • 63. At 04:18am on 11 Aug 2010, exiledspur wrote:

    Can fenomeno's schtick - its taking the whole thread off topic but here's my two cents.
    Perhaps there is a case to be made that the best team at the tournament did not win the World Cup (although I would disagree) but what is I certain is that the best team in the world for the last few years won. Spain's record in 'fenomenol' and indisputable.
    Also why are on the basis of this tournament are they adjudged to be boring - when every single team including the much vaunted Germans basically parked the bus against them. Has everyone forgotten Euro '08 when they were the most swashbucklingly exciting team out there. Furthermore, leading up to the World Cup they were averaging three goals a game - that hardly suggests dull.
    I remember reading an article in 1998 about the future of football was Franco-Dutch - this after Wenger's Arsenal league double that year and French and Dutch exploits at the World Cup - By Euro 2000 this came to be the accepted wisdom - Zidane was in his pomp, French and Dutch players were dominating the big European leagues, Houllier was bringing success to Liverpool. But the 'future' did not last much beyond that. The past ten years or so have been all about Iberia. From 2000 onwards - Spain and Portugal have produced five Champions league winners and four Uefa cup winners. Also Liverpool's 2005 Champions league win was engineered by a Spaniard. In international tournaments Portugal have reached three semi's and a final while Spain have won the last two. Then there has been the rise of Mourinho, Pep as a manager and astounding players like Christiano Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta, Carvalho etc - the list is endless - and that is not even beginning to mention the success they have had at youth level and even Futsal.
    Where do Spain go from here? Onwards and upwards I would say especially given the depth of talent they are producing. The future is not orange its Roja.

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  • 64. At 05:06am on 11 Aug 2010, AntonioSaucedo wrote:

    What's next for Spain? Euro-champs in 2012 and WC-champs in 2014. In their way to becoming the best team in history.

    You read it here first

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  • 65. At 05:10am on 11 Aug 2010, KB_24 wrote:

    I can actually understand where Fenomeno is coming from because largely i was expecting a lot more from Spain. I understand that teams parked the bus against them and i give them much credit for breaking down tough defences though this does still not take away from the fact that i feel they were overall disappointing.
    One thing i would like to argue with was the fact someone said not to question Del Bosque. Are you kidding me?? I think Spain won in spite of Del Bosque. How can you leave Fabregas out in place of Busquets, in fact if anyone cared to notice Spain spent periods of games without strikers when looking for goals(they played Villa on the left and Pedro/Torres from the right with four centre midfielders). Honestly i feel that the only reason Spain won was because of Xavi/Iniesta/Villa. I feel they were justified winners based on the last 4 years or so but not on the tournament.
    I really liked how Germany played. They played as a team with everyone being unselfish. I think if Muller had of played against Spain it might have been a different story, same with Elano against the Dutch (they lacked his creativity)
    Id just like to finish by saying that i believe Xavi is one of the best players to play the game, he knows how situations develop and he is just the ultimate football version of a quarterback, The Maestro.

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  • 66. At 06:38am on 11 Aug 2010, vspyro wrote:

    English referee's untimely courage to be a proper disciplinarian allowed Spain to emerge as victoriousin the end...the presentation of a Red Card following a dive by Iniesta rather than on the better opportunity when Puyol committed far worse on Robben solves the RESULTS SPEAK FOR ITSELF question...but what are you going to do?

    No wonder North America, in general, is skeptical about the legitimacy of Soccer/Football as a sport. Time after time in the past tournament referees' decisions left a bad taste in us. Was Spain the best team or did they manage to fall on the favourable side of the collective referees' blunders throughout the tournament.

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  • 67. At 07:29am on 11 Aug 2010, rjaggar wrote:

    Perhaps del Bosque should do some lessons for his players in respecting contracts of other players???

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  • 68. At 07:32am on 11 Aug 2010, wesley wrote:

    They deserved their victory. At least give them that.

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  • 69. At 07:37am on 11 Aug 2010, wesley wrote:

    I'll be looking out for david Silva this season. Maybe this guy just has what it takes help turn Man City into a powerhouse. Who would've thought that another team from Manchester could be on their way to greatness. Just give these guy's 5 solid season's and they'll notch up the trophies.

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  • 70. At 09:27am on 11 Aug 2010, Any_Danger wrote:

    Fenomeno- ssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    I think you assume that because you're a Brazil fan you know what 'real' football is. How about taking a step back and considering the fact that many football fans may well enjoy watching Spain dominate an opponent by having 65% possession, and marvelling at their close control and technique that right now is far greater than every other team in the world?

    Yes, the traditional type of South American football is great to watch, but just because Spain have won two major tournaments in the last two years (three if you include the Conf. Cup) in a different way to the way Brazil have won their trophies doesn't make them boring.

    What it does make them is the best team, because they seem to be very good at winning football matches.

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  • 71. At 10:24am on 11 Aug 2010, lipstickgiraffe wrote:

    3. At 12:50pm on 10 Aug 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    Lituania and Sotland are also a pretty easy test for them to pass.

    =========================================================================

    You can say what you like about "Sotland" but Spain would roll ALL over the massively OVER RATED en-ger-lund team.

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  • 72. At 10:35am on 11 Aug 2010, Virtuet wrote:

    In previous tournament Spain have been a high scoring team who failed to win major tournaments and were criticised for being niave and bottlers. Now they are getting criticised by the likes of Fenomeno ignoring the unpleasant tone of his comments, he has a point.

    The squad that won European Championship looked more threatening than this one. I remember squad players like Del la Red scoring a spectacular goal (what happened to him) but this squad seemed to have too many defensive midfield players in it and didn,t look so free flowing as in the past. Maybe had Torres been on form it would heve been different.

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  • 73. At 10:36am on 11 Aug 2010, Titanicus wrote:

    Hello Phil,

    A good philosophical question, I believe, is where DO Spain go from here? They are European and World Champions (whether they deserved or not, judging from other comments on this blog) and the perennial question for all top dogs in any sport is how to go forward.

    Naturally, the hope (or even expectation) is that they can continue their period of dominance and do it all again and continue to set records.

    They seem to be playing a new(er) brand of football - I shall term it Hypermodern in absence of any research or knowledge of it being called anything else.

    Their methodology seems to be Total Professionalism - each player knows exactly what to do and where to be in every situation and they pass the ball about waiting for their opponents to waver, get distracted, lose concentration, etc. and an opportunity opens up and they go for the jugular. This, as evidenced by the recent World Cup, is not always successful in producing goals but, in the main, is successful in winning the game and this is what modern, professional football is all about - winning.

    Their style of play is very difficult to play against because they have so much possession - you can't really attack without the ball. Additionally, Germany's rapid counterattacking game drew a blank because Spain didn't really commit too far forward (another reason for their lack of goals) and that meant that there was no space for the Germans to counterattack into. Total possession makes your opponents look defensive because they literally have nothing else to do.

    It's not even pressure football, as (just noted above) Spain don't really squeeze forward and leave space at the back. They just pass. And pass. And pass again until the opponent falters. Incredibly disciplined, incredibly professional and, sadly, occasionally incredibly boring.

    Modern professional football is about winning. That's it. Entertainment doesn't really apply anymore because the administrators know that millions, evens billions, of people will still go to matches and watch TV in the hope that the game really is the greatest, most entertaining game in football history.

    The difference between Spain and other teams is that they have cottoned on to this style of play faster and do it better.

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  • 74. At 10:42am on 11 Aug 2010, El_Vandal wrote:

    @ Stev

    De la Red has a heart condition and has not played since October 2008.

    Torres was not where near full fitness for the world cup. if he had been and if Cesc or silva had played instead of Busquets then I am sure the goals would have flowed.

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  • 75. At 1:15pm on 11 Aug 2010, ole wrote:

    @ Fenomeno

    have a quick question for you! who has a better squad at the moment... Brazil or Spain? player by player and as a team...

    p.s. South Africa was the worst WC ever? did you watch Japan/South Korea 2002?

    Cheers,

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  • 76. At 1:36pm on 11 Aug 2010, panchopuskas wrote:

    Spain are a very good team in an era of mediocrity. Who were the real stars of the last WC? And the one before that? Unfortunately, there seems to be a lack of special talent around ATM which may or may not reflect the sophistication of modern day defences or just parallels what is going on in the rest of society.

    Yes, tiki taka is boring to watch, as is La Liga, apart from the big Madrid-Barsa classic. But it seems to work even if it doesn't please.

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  • 77. At 1:51pm on 11 Aug 2010, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    Spain are the best team in the world right now, and they have the best pipeline of talent. They are most likely going to win both Euro 2012 and WC 2014.
    You will only read that Spain are boring to watch and that they are not the best team in the world at the moment in English message boards. Unfortunately the knowledge of football played outside the rainy islands is zero for English fans. And they are not embarassed of showing that.

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  • 78. At 2:11pm on 11 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 79. At 2:20pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @75

    have a quick question for you! who has a better squad at the moment... Brazil or Spain? player by player and as a team..

    -----

    If I told you what I think I'd be snowed under by all the Spain romantics on here. All I'm going to say is that the two teams play very different. Brazil play a game that's very much about close control and have remarkable skill and vision. I didn't see too much of it from Brazil this tournament, but I didn't see much of it from Spain either and they played more games. Yes, they won, yes, they may have a few more individuals in their squad, but that doesn't mean I have to pretend I liked what I saw, because I didn't.

    2002 wasn't a great WC, but at least Brazil battered every team they faced (yes, that includes Turkey who formed up behind the ball and kicked lumps out of us). 98 was my favourite, I wonder what happened to Brazil that tournament?

    @77

    they have the best pipeline of talent.

    Unfortunately the knowledge of football played outside the rainy islands is zero for English fans.

    -----

    Absolute rubbish.

    They don't have the best pipeline, it's the Americas who produce the most players and the players of real quality who are taught and philosophised in that game then refined in Europe. You can pray all you like, but this dynamic will continue.

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  • 80. At 2:42pm on 11 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    @ 79

    "Brazil play a game that's very much about close control and have remarkable skill and vision" i think you find that's Spain's style

    you clearly did not like what you saw which was another team winning the world Cup

    all the negativity about this world cup simply revolves around the fact that the teams that did well used 2 holding midfielders (except Brazil who had two holding midfielders but underperformed regardless)
    does this defensive tactic mean games are boring and rely on counterattacking football ? yes it does.

    Most people have already stated that 2 holding midfielders restricts the attacking options but most teams would rather not lose ( let a goal in )and hope a set piece or a bit of luck goes their way to get the victory rather than go for win via all out attacking football

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  • 81. At 2:48pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @80

    "Brazil play a game that's very much about close control and have remarkable skill and vision" i think you find that's Spain's style

    you clearly did not like what you saw which was another team winning the world Cup

    -----

    No Spain's is keep the ball on the gorund and hold it until someone can be released for a run on goal. Brazil's is keep it close and drive your way forward, which we saw from Maicon, Kaka, Robinho, Ramires, Elano and Bastos. Only Iniesta and Navas did that at the WC. Learn about the difference in styles before commenting please.

    I obviously didn't enjoy Brazil's loss, but I had hoped Germany or Argentina (that's right, from a 'bitter' Brazil fan) would win because they played better football than Spain. For the last time, stop twisting my disappointment into bitterness to try and wall me out of the discussion and please do learn you to argue your points.

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  • 82. At 2:57pm on 11 Aug 2010, RoamingRanger2 wrote:

    For Fenomeno

    Tks, every day is a nice day in my little world & I've enjoyed reading most of your offerings but will add one last thought/request. Would you accept that any national squad of players, selected, coached, organised, managed & prepared with one thing in mind, to win a month long tournament, who then go on to win that Tournament, should be recognised as the best? Come on...yellow tinted glasses off for a moment.
    & to close 'on topic' wrt 'what now for Spain', I think ALL other nations with notions of world supremacy next time around should worry about how well this very young German side acquitted itself throughout this WC. I was impressed & there's much more to come from them I fear & it would be very interesting to see where they lay amongst the favourites for 2014.

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  • 83. At 3:19pm on 11 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    i will endeavour to learn the difference in style it's just that you confused me with your vast footballing knowledge you first said "Brazil play a game that's very much about close control and have remarkable skill and vision" and then point out that Spain's style "Spain's is keep the ball on the gorund and hold it ( "close control and have remarkable skill" to achieve that ) until someone can be released for a run on goal ("vision")

    you then say "Brazil's is keep it close and drive your way forward"

    so please make up your mind.Does Brazilian football have vision or not? it is hard to keep up with you and your styles when you change the Brazilian footballing philosophy to suit your argument - a bit like Dunga I fear

    and by the way i thought Ramos drove forward as much if not more than Maicon

    the only reason why Argentina and Germany seem to play better football was due to the fact they scored the first goal and the tactic of their oppostion made them look good but up against a good footballing team their counterattacking style was left wanting.

    looks like 5 world cup under your belt and your still bitter just because Spain, like Brazil, won their first world cup on a foreign continent and you fear them doing the double just like Brazil did in 58 & 62 and overtaking Brazil as the team that plays the beautiful game

    sorry

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  • 84. At 3:35pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @83

    You do not need close control or skill to hold the ball, Spain demonstrated that against a ten man Chile by throwing on an extra midfielder and playing the last 15 minutes in their own half.

    I didn't say vision was lacking in the Brazil side, so that argument has gone out of the window hasn't it? I haven't changed any philosophy to suit my argument, that's you changing my words to suit yours.

    "and by the way i thought Ramos drove forward as much if not more than Maicon"

    No. Just no.

    So Argentina and Germany scored first did they? Who scored first in all of Spain's 1-0 wins? Tough one isn't it?

    Keep holding your breath for Spain though, I hope if they do win that they do it in style next time. But I doubt they will.

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  • 85. At 3:48pm on 11 Aug 2010, guyastral wrote:

    Since Brazil seems to be off topic I'll dip my two cents. Brazil has some catch up to do, they're no longer the present nor the future of "jogo bonito" and hence the bitterness of people like Fenomeno. Spain, Argentina and Germany are more pleasing to the eye than Brazil.

    Spain has not only been the best team in the world for the last few years but also host a very competitive and lucrative league that Brazil can only dream about, as a few people already pointed out there's a crop of talent coming through the pipeline which combined with the experience of the current crop of world class players makes Spain a favourite for 2014. I should be looking forward to another "Maracanazo" :)

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  • 86. At 3:52pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @85

    hence the bitterness of people like Fenomeno.

    -----

    That one hit my right in the pride. It's like watching a master at work

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  • 87. At 4:09pm on 11 Aug 2010, Stevat wrote:

    There'll always be talented Brazilian players coming through, but the issue with their performance wasn't a lack of talent - more a lack of ambition. Spain take two very basic principles and apply them in such a way that they are at times unplayable. If you have the ball the opposition can't create or score, and if you continually move into space, you'll always be open for a pass, hence every players has myriad options in possession and they keep the ball superbly.

    Brazil lacks a player in midfield who can direct play as well as almost any of the Spanish midfield. Once they have that (Hernanes perhaps?), and a more forward thinking coach then they will give each other one heck of a game.

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  • 88. At 4:19pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @87

    Brazil lacks a player in midfield who can direct play as well as almost any of the Spanish midfield. Once they have that (Hernanes perhaps?), and a more forward thinking coach then they will give each other one heck of a game.

    -----

    Yeah. I mean Kaka was reportedly battling with injury during the WC and losing Elano against the Ivorians wasn't too fortunate. If Hernanes was drafted in the squad would have needed to be rebuilt which could explain Dunga's reluctance to bring in Ganso, Diego et al. I think 9 times out of ten Brazil would've made the final in this WC. Both the Dutch goals were inexplicable so it's a shame the two teams didn't meet one another.

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  • 89. At 4:33pm on 11 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    Fenomeno you poor little soul
    you are going around in circles

    let me help you
    At first Brazil's style was about close control, skill and vision but we all know that Spain is the team that has the better close control , greater skill and superior vision and so that style must surely belong to them.

    you then talk about "driving forward" without refering to vision so are you saying that the Brazilian team has more vision for a killer pass than the Spanish team because let's be honest all teams have vision unless they happen to be blind.

    i like you argument "no just no" really does show your debating abilities.

    my other point regarding Argentina & Germany was that they played inferior sides allowing them to look good but that did not work against better footballing nations and yes Spain did score first in their 1-0 victories like against Portugal an achievement beyond the capabilities of your Brazilian team

    There is no need to hold my breath Spain have already won the World cup in style perhaps not a style you like but a style that Dunga has been trying to recreate to no avail. 1-nils are not great but considering the lack of form of el Nino and the defensive and violent tactics all teams employed against Spain one nils are perfectly respectable and done in a completely different style to Greece's Euro 2004 victory.

    so graciously accept that Spain, at the moment, has the best team playing the best football in the world or continue to be ridicule as a bitter twisted person

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  • 90. At 4:58pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @89

    "At first Brazil's style was about close control, skill and vision"

    It was always about that. I haven't changed my opinion on that.

    "but we all know that Spain is the team that has the better close control"

    Do you know what close control is? The Brazilians had better control of the ball at their feet than the Spanish who showed sloppy control throughout the tournament.

    "greater skill and superior vision"

    Vision isn't just passing. Spanish players were lost against the Swiss because they knew the Spanish had no vision when it came to dribbling and probing a defense with runs.

    "and so that style must surely belong to them."

    Because you believe they are better? The sport was invented by an Englishman, but Brazil are the most successful national side. By your reasoning, the sport belongs to Brazil.

    "you then talk about "driving forward" without refering to vision so are you saying that the Brazilian team has more vision for a killer pass than the Spanish team because let's be honest all teams have vision unless they happen to be blind."

    I'm talking about getting the ball at the player's feet and running past players towards the opponent's goal with it. The only players to do that for Spain were Iniesta and Navas. Again, vision isn't just passing.

    "my other point regarding Argentina & Germany was that they played inferior sides allowing them to look good"

    Honduras, quality side. Paraguay, quality side.

    "like against Portugal an achievement beyond the capabilities of your Brazilian team"

    These things happen. Again, the Swiss beat Spain. Does that make them better?

    "Dunga has been trying to recreate to no avail."

    That's not the style Dunga was going for. As for no avail, he won the Copa America and Confed Cup that Spain just happened to lose to the USA in. But obviously the Copa America is 'worse' than the Euro isn't it?

    "defensive and violent tactics all teams employed against Spain"

    Chile didn't. Chile gave Spain the run around.

    "continue to be ridicule as a bitter twisted person"

    Likewise, you're bitter Spain didn't win in style like France did in 98, Brazil in 02, etc. In other words, I have to praise Spain as one of the best teams ever or I'm bitter.

    I don't want to hear "You're just bitter Spain are teh greastest!!1!11!one!".

    That's a moronic way of arguing.

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  • 91. At 5:03pm on 11 Aug 2010, selecao9 wrote:

    Football continually moves on...

    The last 10 comments are based on Dunga's Brazil team which is no longer.

    None of you obviously watched the Brazil vs USA game last. Mano's team of 18-22 year olds were very impressive indeed. Check it out on youtube. Gives me hope that jogo bonito is returning...

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  • 92. At 7:15pm on 11 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    @ well done fenomeno i'm glad you appreciate that your arguments are moronic

    I obviously do not know what close contol is because "Spain's close control was sloppy throughout the tournament" yet they still managed to have more posession than anyone else ( please do not refer to the last 10 minutes of the Chile game when both sides were happy to progress with a draw )

    "the Spanish have no vision" - why because they lost to Switzerland?

    so which Brazilian players read the game of football better than Xavi & iniesta? but than again you believe "vision" is more closely associated with dribbling than passing because when Maradona scored the second goal against England in 86 everybody thought to themselves what great vision he has!!


    as I said before every player on the pitch has vision

    "Because you believe they are better? The sport was invented by an Englishman, but Brazil are the most successful national side. By your reasoning, the sport belongs to Brazil"

    by the way I don not believe that this spanish team is better than the brazilian team. the fact that they won the world cup in SA 2010 proves they are the better team hence the reason they are ranked no1 in the world!!! deal with it.
    love your logic with Englishman thing because a style of "close control, skill and vision" are the exclusive property of Brazilian football and no other nations are allowed to have this style except that vision becomes dribbling when you argument loses momentum

    love this part too- you criticise about the quality of Paraguay but then big up the quality Copa America?? magic

    by the way the fact that 3 European teams made it to the semis ( beating the best the south american have to offer ) compared to one south american team would conclusively prove that European football is stronger than South American football Uruguay 4th

    "chile didn't" what put in late tackles and should of had their centre half sent of before half time for his late challenge on Alonso

    i'm not bitter at all - winning our first world cup away from home and you think i'm bitter because we didn't win in style like brazil in 02 . yes i'm bitter because our players didn't roll on the floor holding our faces when some one kicked the ball at our legs. Yes the beautiful style of Brazil and rivaldo in 02 against Turkey just feels me with bitternest

    talking about bitternest the 2 nd comment on this blog was by you and it read

    "I hope they play Brazil soon and get trounced like the overrated side they are. They didn't play the best football and they weren't the best team. Why has this incessant brown nosing by the BBC continued for so long?"

    to answer you question the incessant brown nosing is because Spain are one of the best team ever joint holders of Euro & World Cup and the only european team to do so without being the host nation, they also joined the World Champions Club playing away from home - france 98 host, argentina 78 host, england 66 host

    and you wonder why everyone thinks your bitter - priceless




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  • 93. At 8:01pm on 11 Aug 2010, GigiBuffon1 wrote:

    Any chance of an article on something apart from Spanish football, as Spain's World Cup win was a month ago, and the new Liga season hasn't started yet?

    I'd be interested on reading a blog covering something such as the Russian league, which has been playing games over the summer.

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  • 94. At 9:27pm on 11 Aug 2010, bobshoesmith wrote:

    well i live in spain but i am english I watch the spanish teams week in week out and no surprise to me they won the world cup class players throughout which england just haven't got we have just over paid players whp couldn'y get in to the spanish C team let along the first eleven

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  • 95. At 10:14pm on 11 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @92

    "I obviously do not know what close contol is because "Spain's close control was sloppy throughout the tournament" yet they still managed to have more posession than anyone else"

    Close control isn't possession.

    ""the Spanish have no vision" - why because they lost to Switzerland?"

    I didn't say that. Learn how to read or stop twisting my words, either of the two.

    "but than again you believe "vision" is more closely associated with dribbling than passing"

    I didn't say that. I said there are multiple facets to vision besides passing.

    "by the way I don not believe that this spanish team is better than the brazilian team. the fact that they won the world cup in SA 2010 proves they are the better team hence the reason they are ranked no1 in the world!!!"

    Flawed logic. First you say you don't believe they're better than Brazil then you declare that them winning the WC makes them better than Brazil.

    "love your logic with Englishman thing because a style of "close control, skill and vision" are the exclusive property of Brazilian football and no other nations are allowed to have this style except that vision becomes dribbling when you argument loses momentum"

    Again, not something I said. You're fabricating all of this. Not once did I say it was 'exclusive' to Brazilian football. Stop lying please.

    "love this part too- you criticise about the quality of Paraguay but then big up the quality Copa America?? magic"

    I didn't criticise Paraguay, I said they were a 'quality side'. Was I being sarcastic? You put yourself in your own shoes. Nor did I 'big up' the quality of the Copa America.

    "by the way the fact that 3 European teams made it to the semis ( beating the best the south american have to offer ) compared to one south american team would conclusively prove that European football is stronger than South American football"

    That's not conclusive in the slightest. 13 European sides were present at these finals, do the maths.

    ""chile didn't" what put in late tackles and should of had their centre half sent of before half time for his late challenge on Alonso"

    What about that David Villa slap on the Honduras player? Surely he should have seen retrospective action after the game? But no.. I wonder why? Could it be that FIFA didn't want to cripple everyone's team of the moment?

    "i'm not bitter at all - winning our first world cup away from home and you think i'm bitter because we didn't win in style like brazil in 02 . yes i'm bitter because our players didn't roll on the floor holding our faces when some one kicked the ball at our legs. Yes the beautiful style of Brazil and rivaldo in 02 against Turkey just feels me with bitternest"

    Turkey kicked Brazil apart that game. The Turkish player should have been sent off regardless of where the ball hit Rivaldo because not only was it an act of petulance and dissent but the ball was blasted against Rivaldo. It's a sending off, not that I'm proud of what Rivaldo did. But Busquets and a few other Spaniards have learnt from him since.

    "to answer you question the incessant brown nosing is because Spain are one of the best team ever joint holders of Euro & World Cup and the only european team to do so without being the host nation, they also joined the World Champions Club playing away from home"

    The only European team? Ah, I see, because a South American team can do that same double right?

    And those facts automatically makes that team one of the greatest? The fact is your team scored the least goals in that victory. Some team eh?

    You can't read properly, you're putting words in my mouth, you can't formulate an argument properly. I'm not responding to you anymore.

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  • 96. At 00:58am on 12 Aug 2010, manutd1982 wrote:

    Fenomeno, do you have a life?

    You seemed to have left about a thousand comments arguing with people who agree that Spain are the best International team in the world and deserved to win the World Cup. They may not have played their best football but then no one did apart from probably Germany, and even then it was more of a case of just brilliant counter attacking football.

    Brazil as I recall had 1 good game against Chile, they didn't win because they were not good enough, clear and simple, I think your obvious love of your country has blinded you from the fact that Spain are by far the best all round International football team, deal with it.

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  • 97. At 08:04am on 12 Aug 2010, rezurextion wrote:

    @ Fenomeno

    Dude, I feel sorry for you now, you are not only seriously bitter twisted and delusional, you are also sad and have no life.....geepers you must spend your daily life on this board and obsessing about Spain....

    ....oh dude please get a life, it's for your own benefit....Your comportment really isn't healthy....

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  • 98. At 10:26am on 12 Aug 2010, Phil Minshull wrote:

    Hello everybody, welcome back for another season.

    It wasn’t exactly the most impressive start to their reign as world champions but Spain did manage to scrape a 1-1 draw in Mexico to retain some dignity.

    Frankly, even though Del Bosque used an experimental side, there were eight substitutes and several players were playing out of position at the end, the Spanish players generally looked as though they were still in holiday mode. It was a lacklustre and incoherent display. However, I’m not sure too much should be read into it with regards to Spain’s prospects in the forthcoming Euro 2012 matches and the friendly against Argentina in Buenos Aires on September 7.

    Patrick: “The Spanish Federation has signed a contract with Mexico meaning that the majority of the world cup winning side HAD to travel and play.” The decision to play Mexico was made a while ago, well before Spain had their hands on the World Cup. I haven’t seen the contract but it’s highly unlikely that the Spanish federation would have allowed any clause stipulating what players would go, or the nature of the squad, to be written into it at that stage. As Ridred pointed out, good manners dictates that a development squad was not sent but it was still an opportunity for more players who didn’t feature in the World Cup squad to get a call up and an acknowledgement that Del Bosque still had them in mind.

    One further point, I’m at a loss to work out why Del Bosque selected David Villa, one of the heroes of their World Cup triumph, only for him not to play a single minute. The headline on a story in El Mundo Deportivo this morning reads, The Absurd Trip of Villa. This is a Barcelona-based newspaper and has a certain bias, but I agree with them.

    http://www.elmundodeportivo.es/gen/20100812/53981704647/noticia/el-absurdo-viaje-de-villa.html

    Stev: “Surely these Spanish players especially the Barcelona ones who were also playing and winning World Club championship must burn out soon.” I agree, especially in the wake of games like this one in Mexico. I have a feeling that we will see some very mediocre performances from some (certainly not all, but definitely some) of the World Cup squad in the opening weeks of the season. Following on from this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few upsets in the opening few weeks of La Liga.

    Jack: “What do you make of (Athletic Bilbao defender) Amorebieta's decision to play for Venezuela instead of Spain? Could he have been a regular for the Spanish national side? What has the reaction to this been in Spain?” Personally, I can understand his decision to play for Venezuela. He probably thought he had a chance of being in the squad that went to Mexico and he’s played well enough over the years, since he was a Spanish Under 19 and Under 21 international, to have deserved consideration despite the plethora of good central defenders. With the door appearing closed to the Spanish team, and with him having the opportunity to play for another country through birth (he was born in Venezuela and lived there for two years at the start of his life before his parents moved back to the Basque Country), my impression is that many people here have also been sympathetic to him signing up for the ‘vinotinto’. Whether or not he would have been a regular in the Spanish team is impossible to predict but he was certainly good enough to ultimately get some international recognition.

    Stevat: “Canales is perhaps the most promising but also the most under pressure to succeed young Spanish player. Real Madrid should be pressure enough to prepare him for Spain I guess?” At the risk of being accused of ducking the issue, I think this is a question that will probably only have an answer in 12 months time. I still have fears that he will only play a peripheral role with Real Madrid this season.

    GigiBuffon1 “I'd be interested on reading a blog covering something such as the Russian league, which has been playing games over the summer.” With only one blog a week, it’s impossible to keep everybody happy and also cover European football in its entirety but it’s certainly a good idea.

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  • 99. At 12:45pm on 12 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @96, 97

    I find it pathetic that the two of you have resorted to offending me rather than concentrating on the arguments I've put across. First of all, yes, I do have a life but I'm on summer holiday now and there's not alot to do besides finding a part time job for the remainder of the summer. Obviously you'll say you doubt that even if you don't to belittle me.

    I'm not bitter, I only wished Spain had won it in style like France in 98 for example (where my 'precious' Brazil lost). So none of that bitterness please.

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  • 100. At 2:11pm on 12 Aug 2010, anna33 wrote:

    Well said Fenomeno, You are not alone
    I did not like the way Spain played in this World Cup, their performance was more suited to Broadway!! I am half Spanish, half English, I am not bitter, I don't care who wins as long as its done on merit. Last night they played a friendly against Mexico...oh dear

    from a Fernando Torres fan!!

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  • 101. At 7:33pm on 12 Aug 2010, matador wrote:

    I find it pathetic that 99 complains about people offending him whilst he is happy to offend others
    "you're obviously a fair weather fan and a short sighted one at that"

    He is obviously right that no south america team can become the european champion and then the world champion. However no south american team has been the Copa America champion and gone on to become the world champion at the next world cup not even the mighty Brazil.

    Therefore Spain's historic achievement, accomplished without the advantage of being a host, is the reason why several football loving fans regard them as a great team irrespective of the opinion of an envious bitter Brazilian whose team was unable to register a single victory against european opposition in the last world cup

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  • 102. At 7:58pm on 12 Aug 2010, Harlequin wrote:

    @101

    I find it pathetic that 99 complains about people offending him whilst he is happy to offend others

    -----

    If I wanted to complain I would have reported the comments. I just wanted to express my contempt at the attitudes of 96 and 97 who chose to focus on how much I said as opposed to what I said.

    How on Earth have I offended anyone? Quote me (properly this time).

    "However no south american team has been the Copa America champion and gone on to become the world champion at the next world cup not even the mighty Brazil."

    That's a very obscure statistic you've thrown my way. You're right, Brazil have never won the Copa America and gone on to win the WC, but they have held the championship of both on two occassions, which to all intents and purposes is the exact same thing.

    "envious bitter Brazilian whose team was unable to register a single victory against european opposition in the last world cup"

    I don't envy Spain nor Spanish football. If you want to say 'envy' is prefering Brazil won over them then I suppose everyone who wasn't supporting Spain is envious, an obvious observation.

    @101

    "Last night they played a friendly against Mexico...oh dear"

    -----

    I thought they played ok considering they fielded a weak team for the first half. Mexico aren't that bad a side either. It's a shame Torres didn't perform in SA but credit to him he was struggling with injury and had a hard season.

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  • 103. At 8:09pm on 12 Aug 2010, selu220 wrote:

    The World Cup: Is there any other unbiased method to identify the best football team in the World? That is the point of tournament's like this, is it not?

    You may not like how Spain played. You may not like that it didn't score more goals. And you may not like that your favorite team didn't make it further. But, at the end of the day, the trophy belongs to Spain and that outcome was decided in an unbiased, competitive, and thoughtful manner. Moreover, its track record before the tournament demonstrates its superiority as well.

    Numbers don't have opinions or biases my friends.... they're the only source of the truth. Spain is the very legitimate Winner of the European Cup, World Cup, and at least partially the Champions League in 2008!

    That makes Spain the best, at least for now. Moreover, I expect Spain to continue to make good showings in tournaments because of the great young talent that is coming through the ranks.

    Brazil will come back, and so will Argentina. No doubt. Be patient. For now, respect Spain's very well deserved win.

    Cheers.... I love this game.

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  • 104. At 8:48pm on 13 Aug 2010, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:


    The return of international and club football on our sporting calendar is good news indeed. Mexican Javier Hernandez is showing his appetite for goals on the big stage. Encouraging draw for Mexico against the reigning Euro and World champs.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

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  • 105. At 00:21am on 14 Aug 2010, BringBackFootie wrote:

    @Fenomeno

    For all your well punctuated dislike of Spain, which is clear and is clearly clouding your impaired biased judgement.

    Brazil were kak in the world cup, an embarrasing shadow of their former selves, they played one good half agaisnt Holland and ran around in circles in the second half to no avail, like headless chickens, I doubt Brazil would find it so easy in the European Cup, Holland are usually in it:) As for spain having it easier, you just pile excuse on top of excuse on top of excuse and because you have mastered some pidgeon sarcasm it doesn't make you correct I'm afraid. You are whats wrong with football fans, I bet this "spain is the best" gets you rightly mad. Live with it, if you dont like it take up football play for Brazol and score a hattrick against Spain, I'll believe your biased rant then, thanks for amusing me a lot on this thread

    I tell thee, Brazil maybe 10th best team at the WC. Ghana were far better to watch to be fair and while I did get bored in some Spain games, if you were Spanish you wouldn't have been so bored watching your team win the WC!!

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  • 106. At 01:45am on 12 Sep 2010, Alba wrote:

    @26 "I don't believe that any real England, Germany, France or Italy fan would be claiming a "collective" victory".


    I claim as a "collective" victory Italy winning 2006 WC.

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  • 107. At 02:05am on 12 Sep 2010, Alba wrote:

    @73 "It's not even pressure football, as (just noted above) Spain don't really squeeze forward and leave space at the back. They just pass. And pass. And pass again until the opponent falters. Incredibly disciplined, incredibly professional and, sadly, occasionally incredibly boring."


    The most sensible post I could read is yours.

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  • 108. At 10:57am on 03 Oct 2010, Gaz wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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