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Euro 2012 final: Does winning make Spain boring?

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Phil McNulty | 20:30 UK time, Saturday, 30 June 2012

Euro 2012: Kiev

It is the question that has been hanging over Euro 2012 and it was fitting that the air should be cleared as Spain attempt to make history against Italy in Sunday’s final in Kiev.

Spain’s sequence of success started under veteran coach Luis Aragones at Euro 2008 and his successor Vicente del Bosque carried the torch to win the World Cup in South Africa two years later.

Now, on the verge of an unprecedented third successive major tournament win, Del Bosque and his masterly midfielder Xavi responded to what seems a nonsensical query given their record: “Are Spain boring?”

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It is safe to assume the Spanish nation is not bored by their team's consistency and it is highly unlikely those of us who follow England to various stages – but never this final one – of major tournaments would not grow jaded watching players of the calibre of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and so many others wearing the national colours.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli declined to fall into the trap. He made up one half of a remarkably relaxed pairing with goalkeeper Gigi Buffon at Saturday’s media briefing, even announcing at its conclusion that he would throw Italy’s final training open to the media in its entirety. Never a sign of a shortage of confidence.

He hit the nail firmly on the head when he said: “It is not a case of Spain being boring. It’s a fear of seeing the same side winning. Spain always seem to come out on top so they are not boring in any shape or form.”

It is a trait seen in other sports when the greats have a stranglehold on a title. When a Swiss prodigy called Roger Federer toppled the magnificent Pete Sampras in five sets on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in 2001, part of the pleasure for many was the rather twisted one of seeing champions have the rug pulled from beneath them.

Spain are now football’s tall poppy that plenty want to cut down. This explains why this developing Italy side have the support of many neutrals who simply fancy a change to what has become the established order.

Del Bosque accepted Spain’s side had evolved and there is no question they are not quite as pleasing on the eye as in past years. They also played out a mainly dull Euro 2012 semi-final before beating Portugal on penalties – but Spain are not a dull football team. How could they be with the talent at Del Bosque's disposal? Indeed it would be quite a feat of coaching to make them so.

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The coach who was so successful at Real Madrid has been accused of putting a more negative slant on the Spanish approach with some simply expecting them to ape Barcelona’s style. One cutting comment during one earlier game was: “They’re just not the same side without Lionel Messi.”

Spain’s style is based on not allowing their opponents possession, which is usually the first port of call for any team with ideas of success.

Del Bosque has also been under scrutiny for use of the so-called “False Nine”, which means there is no recognised striker in the team. The system has come under forensic examination but one explanation might be that his genuine nine, Fernando Torres, has not made enough of a compelling case for inclusion.

Spain have conceded one goal at Euro 2012 – to Italy in their opening 1-1 draw – and there is magic in the work of the players Del Bosque will send out in search of history tomorrow.

Xavi is one of those world-class players and he is neither bored, nor regards Spain as boring. He said: “We are not boring. If it is boring that Spain always wins then that is the ideal for us. We are making history in this sport and we are really looking forward to this final.

“We are not bored. We want to continue with the style that has brought us so many victories.”

So Spain go in seach of a record and, in some cases at least, credit and recognition as one of the great international sides in the history of the game. And what makes the final so intriguing is that they face an Italy team that showed great freedom, as well as the traditional resilience, in surprising Germany in the semi-final in Warsaw.

As when Italy won the World Cup in 1982 and 2006, it is being achieved despite a whiff of domestic scandal in their game. This time it is match-fixing and it seems out of such adversity the Azzurri make a statement for their nation.

Goalkeeper Buffon, a towering figure in their history and hugely respected within the world game, agreed when he said: “There is something unique in the Italian mentality. Beyond everything that has been said, and the rumours, Italians have a lot of respect and love for the national squad which goes above and beyond.

“We have the opportunity to show just how great our country is. It is not always easy but we always try to find a way of getting a solid squad and there is a lot of solidarity here. We’re thinking along the same lines and that’s our strength.”

And strengths have emerged elsewhere, not least in two of the most charismatic personalities at Euro 2012 – midfield man Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli.

Pirlo could take his place with comfort on the passing “carousel” Xavi and Iniest attempt to transfer from Barcelona to Spain, while Balotelli now has the biggest stage of his career to continue his impressive response to the tactical trust Prandelli has afforded him.

So history - and plenty more - is on the line in Kiev on Sunday as Spain and Italy attempt to provide a fitting finish to a superb tournament.


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  • Comment number 1.

    If you are Spanish it isn't boring. I like their style of play, others don't, that is fair enough. Teams go negative against them and I think that makes them difficult to enjoy sometimes but I prefer their style to that of England's kick & rush approach. If we were on the verge of 3 major tournaments in a row would we find it boring?

    Should be a good match, the last 3 winners of the big prizes in football. Italy are just the sort of side who will happily soak up pressure all day long, I actually think they will prove to be a tougher opponent than Germany would have been.

    Little something to consider, Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 & 2010-both times Spain won Euros and World Cup. Nadal won't win it this year, maybe that is a bad omen for Spain too. (Although I will predict 2-0 to Spain, Fabregas & Iniesta).

  • Comment number 2.

    Are they talented? Yes. Do they get results? So far. Are they boring? YES.

    Look, they were passing the ball between themselves at the 20TH MINUTE in one of their games in their own halves. The game was still wasn't a semi-final at the 89th minute while leading 1-0. Italy, of all countries, was looking for their 3rd goal against GERMANY in the latter half of the game on Thursday.

    All Spain does is pass-pass-pass-pass. They are afraid what will happen when the opponent gets the ball. It's become ridiculous. I have several Spain fans who have had enough of this nonsense. It's like watching Italy in the mid-2000s. So many great strikers and yet always sitting on a 1-0 lead and defending with 10 men in the box.

    So yes, Spain ARE boring. The media tries to spin this as "bored of winning". No. We see the same 3-4 clubs win the Champions League every year and yet it's a thrill. We are bored of their dull possession passing. It's horrid and is killing the game. Thank GOODNESS no other team is adopting this policy in spite of the results it gets.

  • Comment number 3.

    Itz only boring when they are only passing without any sort of creativity that gels together, however when it does and it cuts defence opens, itz world class. I think they are struggling becuase none of thier strikers that they have currently fits in to thier system as they are missing thier number 7 david villa (whp plays the number 9 role) who is much more compacgable as he plays for Barca aswell and then Spain are a real goal threat hence David villa their top goal scorer for both Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, Euro 2012 they have been far from best and as Fabregas today quoted "the best teams are in the final" God knwz what planet his on because Portugal and he Germans has played better football then them and hope Italians do win 2mrw because they been the best team this tournament by far. Outplayed England, Germany, ROI, gave the Spanish and Croatian and great game.

  • Comment number 4.

    They just look quite tired, as did some of the Barca and Madrid players towards the end of the season. I wonder whether some leagues, especially in England, should reduce the number of clubs in the league- Germany have no League Cup equivalent or FA Cup (equivalent) replays, and usually look very energetic.

    It could also be the lack of an in-form striker, not much of a focal point for attack. But I liked their six-in-midfield strategy- far more dominant after doing this against Portugal, just lacking a clinical finisher.

  • Comment number 5.

    @Phil McNulty: "They also played out a mainly dull Euro 2012 semi-final before beating Portugal on penalties – but Spain are not a dull football team."

    Uhmm! Interesting oxymoron. You forgot a drab draw against Italy and a nearly-draw against Croatia in which they were on vacation for much of the match. The Italy and Spain matches showed that their weels can come off against more technically eficient sides.

  • Comment number 6.

    At times yes they are dull, against the lesser nations they will get 3 or 4 goals, but as we have seen against a good defensive team they are lucky to get 1 or 2.
    Italy play a more direct style of football which I like, lots of passing with no end product or purpose is boring. But hey, they win and make the other team work.
    It's not about being exciting for the manager, it's about winning. If you can win in style that is a bonus but you don't get extra points.

  • Comment number 7.

    When are their best they are far from boring?. The passing, movement and execution are a joy to behold.

    When not at their best, like most of this tournament, then it can be boring to watch. They pass the ball to keep possession for the sake of keeping possession with very little intent to score. I can appreciate and admire the skill involved but that doesn't make it enjoyable to watch.

  • Comment number 8.

    The style of play that Spain use is designed to keep the ball away from the opposition and so by definition, it reduces the competitiveness of the game. Initially, it was great to watch as nobody, even the Brazil side of the 1970's, had that same kind of technical superiority, but now after 4 years of "tiki taka" training ground games, people are rightfully suggesting that this style is killing the game.

    The sad part is that teams that have found a temporary answer to that style, by allowing them to have their possession but restrict their ability to score, have themselves been accused of killing the sport, which is blatantly unfair.

    It would be great for the sport if Italy beat Spain on Sunday.

    Here's hoping.

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem with Spain is that they have the ball alot but they create very few chances, and by keeping the ball limit it the other team to no chances at all. So in a ninety minute match Spain will create 3-4 chances, and the other team may get one decent one, and Spain will edge it 1-0, as in basically all of their matches.

    I saw a comment before the tournament comparing Brendan Rodgers style of play to Spain/Barcelona and it said that Rodger's tika-takka passing is a defensive tactic to stifle the other team, whereas Spain/Barcelona use it to hurt the opposition, but from watching all of Spain's matches this tournament they look like they are trying to stop the opposition scoring as much as possible, and i know who is more entertaining out of Spain and Swansea.

    However, the fear that other teams have of Spain forces them to defend heavily as Spain could take them apart, causing Spain to be more patient and create less chances, so the boring matches are not as much of Spain's own making as being led on, but i would still prefer to watch a game between two decent teams going at eachother (like England-Sweden) than watch two gifted teams (such as the world cup final of 2010) size eachother up for 115 minutes before scoring.

  • Comment number 10.

    Over the course of the last World Cup Spain have scored 16 goals in 12 matches. Four being against a poor Ireland. Even then the game was fairly dull. It's not Spain being boring as they win everything, however I don't think anyone can say that they have been involved in an 'exciting' encounter. They are extremely effective and ultimately it's what brings results. Chelsea can be seen as another effective but boring team in another way. Whereas the likes of Arsenal and Spurs are exciting but vulnerable as a result.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes it is boring, there have been many an instance so far in the tournament when either Arbeloa or Jordi Alba have been in 20 yards of space out wide, been spotted by Xavi or Xabi Alonso, who have proceeded to turn inside and pass it back to the centre of the pitch instead. They need to play a striker, in my opinion Torres or Llorente, and they need to get the ball wide.

  • Comment number 13.

    Spain are often boring because they go such long periods without accelerating the game. So often they prefer to pass backwards rather than take a little risk to accelerate and create a chance. I often wonder if they are capable of accelerating the game.
    Their technical abilities and capaciy to pass the ball is undeniable. I just wish they could accelerate the game. I love it when Inesta or Xavi put a pass through an opposing defense but it is far too rare.

    As for England when they have the ball thay can be really exciting, moving the ball quickly or putting in accelerations that astound. A French commentator remarked during Englands Q-final againt Italy that despite Italys domination the english move the ball really fast and look really dangerous on the ball.

  • Comment number 14.

    Spain are not boring, they are playing the beautiful game to the finest. I find it astonishing people dont appreciate how hard it is to keep the ball for 25-30 passes at a time. its an astonishing display of passing, touch and movement that buts xavi and iniesta the best players in the world. No team has adopted the spain or barcelona way because no other team has the players that can do what iniesta and xavi can. ronaldo and messi may score goals but xavi and iniesta keep the ball, and you cant score goals without the ball!! barcelona would be hit harder by the loss of xavi than the loss of messi. This spanish tea is the golden generation of football, and we will reminisce when they have gone. That said...come on Italy (everyone loves an underdog)

  • Comment number 15.

    Spain are incredibly boring to watch that is undoubted. sideways passing endlessly, makes me want to switch off... that's why England should never try to adopt the spanish model. Boring football works for now... but it should be England's goal to win by playing exciting football.

    And give me a break... if England wanted to make 25-30 passes they could.. any top international team could. Just pass it along the back line.... into the midfield.... back to the backline... back to the goally... goaly to the right back or left back etc etc. its easy. Thts all spain do but they have 2 world class midfielders in Xavi and Iniesta and to a certain extent Fabregas, to make things happen after the countless boring passes.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think its all about opinions. The people who think Spain are boring probably enjoy counter attacking football, an open game or are just purely jealous of their success. I think its a mixture of all the above. There are some people who prefer a different brand of football but there are lots of people as well who just hate Spain and are just bitter and jealous of them.

  • Comment number 17.

    You have to marvel at just how well Spain pass the ball and keep possession and there is no argument about that. They do, however, make a match very dull to watch. There is the issue of the other side frequently taking a negative approach but Spain aren't exactly always that positive themselves. They often just pass for passing's sake and not in an effort to create a goal when they go 1-0 up whereas I would rather see them go for the jugular and score some more goals. At the end of the day though, they are incredibly successful doing what they do and we wouldn't have any complaints if England were the ones winning all the time

  • Comment number 18.

    At 21:41 30th Jun 2012, deperer wrote:

    Spain are incredibly boring to watch that is undoubted.

    And give me a break... if England wanted to make 25-30 passes they could.. any top international team could.


    Oh dear. I think you should be England's next manager.

  • Comment number 19.

    No, winning doesn't make Spain boring, boring the spectators and opponents to sleep in order to win does make them boring though.

    I think you could expect a team of their ability to be able to create more than 3 good chances per game, but sadly enough they don't as they are probably afraid the opposing team will be able to get a couple of touches on the ball if they do.

    To make matters worse, every other team they play seems so terrified of their playing style that every game involving Spain turns in to a big borefest

  • Comment number 20.

    I find the way Spain play boring i will admit, however i find England far far more boring. I think the problem with a lot of people saying that Spain are boring, is that they are influenced by how their club plays football. I support Manchester United, and i loved the high paced counter-attacking football that the Germans and Portugese teams played this tournament. Might not be as successful as playing keep ball with your mates for 90 mins, but it is far more entertaining. Isn't that what this business is about?

    No striker. Crazy. Very defensive minded. You might expect this from Italy in years gone by, but they will be the team that fields 2 strikers on sunday evening. Swansea play a possession based game, as do Arsenal, but can you really say these two teams are boring? No. For Spain, you can say it. Very rarely do you see Spain running directly at players, whipping crosses into the box, or shooting from distance regularly. They have a striker who plays in a possession based team (Llorente), so why not drop the hatchet man Busquets and play a striker who can hold the ball, pass and score?

  • Comment number 21.

    Spain aren't boring because they always (more often then not anyway) win, they're boring because there style of play has developed over the last couple years from an offensive possession game to a defensive possession game. They aren't willing to in any way risk defeat by trying too hard to win. Simply, the players are less willing than in the past to attempt the cutting pass. They go for it less, and have been more cautious, and this has resulted in the awful passages of play where it goes to the centre of defence, then to the midfield, out to the fullbacks, back to the centre backs and on and on and on.

    Of course England's problem has been for years impatience, players like Gerrard and Rooney being guilty on occassion of trying to force it when a pass isn't on -but Spain have gone too far in the other direction, and their ultra-conservative play is now losing them the fans they have won in the last four years. Yes, Spain have scored quite a few goals, but I'd imagine they aren't top of the list for minutes of possession per goal.

    Can someone at the BBC find the stats for most frequent scorers in the Euros so far? i.e stats for how long each team takes to score on average

  • Comment number 22.

    Spain do what they are good at, and they will not care one jot about what any of us thinks if they continue to win tournaments.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have a mate who can juggled the ball all day long but an average footballer on the field and useless when it comes to be competitive.
    Yes we might as well trained an army of seals ;)

    Spain playing without a Messi is like watching a circus act, full of clowns in the ring amusing us until it becomes ad nauseam.

    I believe that's not the goal of Football.

    We should put Spain on the clock!

    Above is a tongue-in-cheek post. Spain is not the main culprit.

    The most abominable affront to football is parking the bus, hoofing the ball and kicking the opponents out of the park. And you know who are the culprits. (nodding myheademphatically)

    A POV from a pair of clear crystal blue eyes.

  • Comment number 24.

    # 15 deperer: What a load of cobblers. It would only be English people following frantic but skill-less EPL who'd call Spain, or any other non-English side, boring. The irony is that the EPL is very boring indeed, no skills, no strategic finesse, no craft or attempt to unlock the opposing defence, just bang the ball up the middle up the front and hope for the "best". The passing of Spain and any other non-British footballing country is not boring, but the key to unlocking opposing defences. This may be a very difficult concept for an English footbal supporter to grasp, but I suggest they try, get your head around it. It is a bit like a game of chess. It takes a bit of intelligence, of course...Now we know why England never win anything.

  • Comment number 25.

    Siddy_G - you are absolutely right. Spain are playing incredibly defensively. Yes their style is to deny their opponents the ball, get their opponents to chase and tire them so that defensive lapses allow them (Spain) to score. But the verve, the passion, the sheer physical explosiveness that is EPL football at its best is vastly more exciting than the mere passing skills of Spain. Spain need to develop their game to incorporate a real Number 9, one who takes risks and perish the thought might even lose the ball but can score goals like Balotelli or Drogba or Messi or .... what's his name ... oh yes ... Torres.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find Spain boring. Precision passing is great but not when it is usually square and sideways. Spain seem content to score one goal and then keep the ball. Even Italy were hungry for more goals against Germany. If one compares Spain to 1970s Holland, the Dutch were great passers too, but usually forward, towards goal. Chelsea are boring "crabs", Spain a more refined version. And what used to make Brazil great was their fearlessness "If our opponents score, we'll score more" Now that's proper football! Spain seem scared of losing the ball - is that greatness?

  • Comment number 27.

    Are Spain boring? I'd hesitate to label them as boring, but I certainly wouldn't call them exciting. Spain are essentially Barcelona minus Messi, but unlike Barcelona they aren't willing to relentlessly attack, and they won't score many as a result of the opposition's compact stance.
    What's frustrating about Spain is not that they have all the ball, but that they have several players who could easily thread a killer ball through, and create genuinely good chances but don't, because of the very slim chance of getting caught on the break.

    What happens when a irresistible force meets a hugely difficult object to move?
    Nothing for large periods, and this is why some call Spain boring; because even though they could score, they choose not to try, confident at some point one of their players will bag one even though nobody's really trying.

    And that's the kicker. A football team that spends most of a match avoiding the primary objective? I can respect the efficiency and efficacy of Spain's play, but I don't have to like it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Or running like headless chickens playing 'bam wam thank you mam' football. Football that sizzles to plastic fans.

    Spain without Villa I must say have become toothless. Just like this blog without the 'soul wit of David Villa' ;)

  • Comment number 29.

    There has to be some sort of middle ground between England's "Kick 'n' Rush/Long Ball" style, and Spain's "Pass 'em To Death" way of playing. Funny thing - everyone knows how Spain are going to play, just like everyone knows that Italy's football goes through Pirlo, and yet STILL there hasn't been a way to deal with both scenarios - why is that..?

  • Comment number 30.

    I am heartened by so many comments which condemn the frightened defensive tactics of Spain. Really great teams don't always win trophies but are remembered with affection ; 1954 Hungary, 1974 Holland, goals galore and both beaten by dogged West German teams. Winning by boring the crowd and the opposing team to death is without value. Chelsea beat Barca, Greece beat Portugal in 2004, but how many football fans like Chelsea or Greece for those wins? Viva Italia, I say!

  • Comment number 31.

    While i do not find Spain boring i much prefer the Luis Aragones Spanish team. Also one thing that has really hurt the Spanish team is the absence of David Villa. Torres has not been in fine form and the manager does not seem to trust Llorente and Soldado despite them being the two best strikers on form.

    And while i find the previous Spain side much more exciting i do understand that they are merely 'playing to their strength'. That is something England could learn from. You always play to your strength. Right now, at this point in time, Spain have a abundance of midfield talent. Their defense and attack are good but not the best. So they rely on their passing, their passing is also their defense, keeps the ball away from the opposition. Unfortunately, without David Villa they are a bit toothless in attack. But they play to their strengths and they WIN games. Thats more than good enough.

    What do you expect Spain to do? If they just hurl the ball upfront or play counter attacking football they will get torn to shreds. ALWAYS PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH! So fair play to them. I bet the people who criticize them for being boring are the same people who praised Chelsea for 'playing to their strength' and beating Barcelona.

  • Comment number 32.

    Mr deperer @15, do you really think that the current England team are capable of stringing together 25-30 passes, on the evidence of the past few weeks I would suggest not. I am English, and of course want them to win, but it is a very long time since I have seen them play any football that I have found entertaining.
    Spain play in this way because it has been successful for them, why change a winning formula.

  • Comment number 33.

    Give me a Balotelli. He is like a fox in a coop of chickens that's what the German's defense found themselves boxed in.
    Running like headless chickens (wie ein kopfloses Huhn herumlaufen) spreading them everywhere with his crafty runs.

    Instead of the sedentary (taco bell) fare that Messiless Spain has ply us with.

    Jogo Bonito.

  • Comment number 34.

    At last we come to it England unbeaten in normal time ,yet slated for awful football to watch .Spain ,the same just that previous sucesses are buying them some slack.Arsenal are living proof that you can get away with losing if it,s pleasing to the eye. But only for so long.All pretty sucessful teams either get their wings clipped or play more pragmatic football to keep winning eventually.Your verdict seems to depend where your watching from

  • Comment number 35.

    If Spain play their normal possession football tomorrow, Italy will not have the ball to the same extent that they did against a German side which made the mistake of changing their tactics, and which gave away possession far more than they normally do as a result. With less possession, Italy in general and Pirlo in particular will find life much harder.

    Watching Spain’s “grandmasters”, sublimely at times executing their 4-6-0, I’m reminded of the Armenian born world chess champion, Tigran Petrosian. He was regularly criticised for being “too defensive”, when in truth he was like a python, slowly squeezing the available space until his opponent made a mistake, and then pouncing. The other Russians coined a phrase for his style, they called it the Nichevo Attack because one of the several shades of meaning for nichevo is “I don‘t see anything“.

    Spain calmly play a “nichevo attack”, holding the ball with almost infinite skill and patience until the moment for a decisively penetrating pass. However grudgingly, only the ignorant or myopic can fail to be impressed.

  • Comment number 36.

    @31 durtbag
    A great post, which more or less implies that Spain are not a great team despite pundits claiming they are.They were great in 2008 and 2012 because they attacked with confidence, but now they realise they can't score many goals so play to their strength by frustrating the opposition. Like many football fans, I didn't praise Chelsea for grinding out their win over Barcelona. Basically teams like Chelsea and Spain play in the wrong spirit. May the better football team win on Sunday! (Italy, of course)

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't understand why some people go on saying that Spain was the team that lit up a very bleak WC 2010, they played exactly the same way as they've done in Euro 2012 and were just as boring to watch then, 75% possession and maybe 3-4 created chances and then going on to win 1-0.

    Well, i guess i forgot that they added a lot of drama to the games in WC 2010 with all their diving, feigning injuries and swarming the referee while waving imaginary card...

    Can we please have some more of "Joga bonito" Spain from 2010 instead of boring Euro 2012 Spain?

  • Comment number 38.

    Mr Goluboy sir, you are obsessed with chickens.

  • Comment number 39.

    In short, you don't think they are boring because they are talented and effective. The fact that their games are often lifeless, and their myriad possession frequently has no purpose other than to kill time isn't to be considered.

    Nobody is denying that they are a great team. That doesn't make them exciting, and this article rather misses the point of people's chagrin. I would liken the way Spain play to an offensive style famous from college basketball in the States, and known as the Four Corners offence. This was a highly successful style of play designed to hold on to possession indefinitely, and famous North Carolina teams under Dean Smith won national championships using it to run down the clock from as early as the first ten minutes of a game. That it was effective was never in doubt, and nor was the fact it took skill and precision to run. The bare fact of the matter, though, is that it was so damn boring to watch that the NCAA changed the rules of the game to stop people doing it. This is where I stand with Spain right now. I appreciate their talent and admire their effectiveness, but I'd rather watch almost any other team.

  • Comment number 40.

    Given a free run in the chicken coop a Fox can finish!


  • Comment number 41.

    38. At 22:14 30th Jun 2012, markt23 wrote:
    Mr Goluboy sir, you are obsessed with chickens.
    I like chickens off course ;)

  • Comment number 42.

    Spain are not a boring football team at all. I'm sorry but this criticism has just come from jealousy at their success.

    Spain don't score many goals because teams park the bus against them. They 'pass, pass, pass' to break teams down and avoid the counter attack.

    The mentality of people and their envy of the successful and admirable Spanish method is shown by Euros comment:

    10. "At 21:29 30th Jun 2012, Euros wrote: They are extremely effective and ultimately it's what brings results. Chelsea can be seen as another effective but boring team in another way. Whereas the likes of Arsenal and Spurs are exciting but vulnerable as a result."

    Why did you name the 3rd and 5th best teams in the Premiership as our 'most entertaining' sides?

    Because you didn't want to give Man City and Man Utd, the two most successful clubs in our league at the moment, any credit.

    People are jealous of winners.

    Being good at losing does not make a team entertaining, although it will mean people aren't jealous of you.

    End of story.

  • Comment number 43.

    What Spain are missing is a fox in the box to eat all the chickens.

  • Comment number 44.

    @35 Equilibro
    Chess belongs on a chess board,it's cerebral and bloodless. Football should be passionate as well as clever.
    Hopefully Italy will have studied Portugal's approach to Spain's tactics ; Portugal hustled Spain and played a fast tempo game in the first half which really rattled Spain. Spain without constant possession were exposed as one-trick ponies. For the sake of the soul of football, I hope Italy overcome the frightened defensive negativity that is Spain! Nichevo attack is clever, but so are many things which can be admired but not loved or embraced. Nichevo attack from Spain would be welcome, but nichevo midfield defence is just plain boring

  • Comment number 45.

    You've totally been sidetracekd on the point Phil. This is absolutely nothing to do with tall-poppy syndrome. Many have been saying for a long time (in fact i did on these pages during the WC2010 - which have been deleted) that Spain play a very boring brand of football - I am glad more people are seeing through the Emporer's New Cloak of football, finally. It is technically excellent and hugely successful no doubt, but boring, boring, boring zzzz.
    The pseudo-intellectuals would have us believe that any of us who find it boring are phillistines, not a bit of it.
    I think the most telling evidence is those that herald the Spanish as fantastic will never use the phrase exciting about the team. The nonsense is always that it's jealousy or this is why Uk football is stuck in the dark ages.....but never Spain are exciting.
    Can 50% of the football-viewing population be wrong?

  • Comment number 46.

    I would simply say that it reminds me of Formula 1 when Michael Schumacher was dominating every race for Ferrari. The whole sport became boring because there was a distinct lack of unpredictability.

    It isn't only Spain's fault. It is also their opponents who give them far too much respect and play a largely defensive style. When a team or individual becomes so accomplished, it can be boring to watch simply because there is a numbing inevitability about what will happen.

    I would love to see Spain play a genuine centre forward and mix up their play more than they do. The passing style has attained them great results but teams are beginning to combat that tactic. If they threw in a direct pass or flooded the counter-attack from time to time, they would be an even more dangerous team.

    Styles always change in football, just look at how all physicality is being eroded from the game. The 'Spain style' is being countered by opponents and Spain really should try asking different questions when it isn't working for them.

    There is nothing more frustrating than watching a great passing move that gets to the opposition penalty area, things open up for a shot and they pass it sideways or backwards. Arguably, Spain's results could have been even better if they were more ruthless and shot more.

  • Comment number 47.

    @42 Vox Populi
    I disagree! Most football fans (not blinkered one-team supporters) only resent success if it is not fully deserved. For example, if Spain are so great, why can't they turn on the style and score a few goals in a game? Spain park the bus in midfield. A truly great team such as Brazil 1970 won the WC and were loved by everyone because they beat the opposition out of sight, not by square passing and dourly grinding out results. Winning in style is what counts. True football fans will never call a team like Spain great because Spain are scared of losing the ball. They would make great health and safety consultants, but a great football team? Get real!

  • Comment number 48.

    It is impossible to judge something when england are so woefully unable to do the same

    Its a bit like asking someone from the high street to talk about Einstein... Might look familiar but no real clue, what its about.

    Spains game is built on having players that are comfortable in possession, can who can pass to their team-mates again, again, and again....

    England play the game based around 'receiving a pass looking like you've never played football before, hoofing it as far upfield as possible and then rushing after it like a schoolboy. Bonus points awarded for losing tactical shape, barging into opponents or throwing the ball really far at throw-ins.

    That is why Spain are world champions and England a sad joke.

    Calling Spain 'boring' is a rather pathetic attempt to try and make the English feel a little less inadequete, but the same attitude that has prevented any progress in the English game for forty years.

    That's the real boring thing. England's total failure and unwillingness to do anything about it.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think it depends why you watch football. If you turn it on as a spectacle and are used to one team battering another then I'm sure Spain do seem a little conservative.

    But if you know football and by this I mean you understand how difficult it is to keep the ball and not give your opponents a chance then I don't think you be bored with witnessing a team that is changing the game like the Hungarians in the 50s or the Dutch in the 1970s. When you can play the game the same way in every match, and every one of your opponents have to change the way they play then you are undoubtedly the best team in the world. For me Messi at Barca gives them a wow factor that perhaps the Spanish national team don't have but I don't find them boring.

  • Comment number 50.

    I didn't see Spain in the 2008 Euros (as England wasn't taking part) but i did in the 2010 world cup and i was astonished that they were so revered. they are the most frustrating and boring team i've watched!
    They have so much talent and technical ability yet they seem to scared to use it! they are content to pass the ball continually, even when they get a crossing opportunity they can't cross the ball because there is never anyone in the box !

    Xavi!!! "oooh he has passed the ball 200 times, what a player!" Bobbins!!! 99% of his passes are 6 feet or less and 60% are in his own half! im pleased that teams like Italy and Portugal have shown the Spanish for what they are and but for some better finishing would have dumped them out on their ass!

    Spain are boring and i expect Italy to beat them Sunday and put an end to the fallacy that Spain play perfect football.

    would you pay to watch your team play like Spain? i know i wouldn't!

  • Comment number 51.

    Personally, I don't find them boring at all. And I quite enjoyed the semi against Portugal for the simple reason that Portugal tried to go toe to toe with them. Croatia as well did so in the final qualifer and Chile in South Africa. The problem is when teams are so afraid that they do not try to play a modicum of their own game.
    Italy did give them a good game in their opening fixture so let's hope they give it a go tomorrow and we see a good final.

  • Comment number 52.

    Spain are not boring, they're just the new Italy. They do things slightly differently to before, and it's arguably proving just as successful. It will probably be enough to help them make history. I doubt the history books will make light of the fact that this championship win was less spectacular than the last....

  • Comment number 53.

    Barca500 @46

    Perhaps Spain do not have any confidence in their genuine centre forwards. Torres as we know is not the player he was 4 years ago, Negredo looked out of his depth the other night, perhaps they will give Llorente a chance? If they lose the final maybe they will look to change their style of play. Or maybe as with Barcelona, against Chelsea especially, they have no plan B, and cannot change.

  • Comment number 54.

    They've been involved in some seriously boring matches so far this tournament, and against Portugal, France and Italy, who've all been involved in much more exciting matches. Their style prioritizes keeping possession, with little regard for taking on opponents, playing killer passes or even creating very many chances, which has to be rationally seen as quite dull. Villa being injured with no adequate striker to step in, and other teams using defensive strategies to counter them may partly explain things, but that doesn't mean they'd be popular winners. And I assume the double negative in paragraph 4 is accidental?

  • Comment number 55.

    I am stunned that anyone can find Spain boring to watch. Even on a poor day, it's amazing how they calmly work the ball out from their own corner flag while under immense pressure. If England had 1/10 of the technical ability of Spain we would be in serious contention for honours.
    This tourny Spain have lacked a focal point. No in form strikers has made their job difficult and I can see Italy beating them tomorrow but to say their style is boring is just beyond a joke.
    It's the same on all sports. The greats get tarred with the boring brush after a period of great superiority. Time will change things and other teams will emerge to challenge Spain but to say they are killing the sport...unbelievable. Especially if that is from an Englishman.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 24 Sebastian-Fettles-Teacher - utter nonsense. I assume you watched Spain v Portugal? If so, unless you had the audio on your television turned off, you would have heard endless whistling and jeering every time the Spanish got to around 30-40 passes. Do you think these were England fans in the crowd? Get real. So to say only the English would complain about Spain's style of play is ridiculous.

    In anticipation of this conversation coming up, I actually noted one example of this kind of thing. It's around the 47-minute mark (if you have access to a replay of the game). The Spanish make about 30 passes in a play, get absolutely nowhere (in fact they lose territory, bringing their goalkeeper into the play after around 20 passes). And then from memory the move broke down when one of their players is tackled. THAT is boring, negative football, and the crowd are right to boo and whistle.

    It's 30 passes, going nowhere, all within their own half, and with no intent to attack or score. Talk all you like about "skill" and "technical superiority", but it's still boring to watch.

    And the other thing that annoys and frustrates me about the Spanish is the diving. They go down like they've been shot any time someone gives them a dirty look (no wonder every single Portugal defender was booked in the game).

    The constant backwards passing and diving are the two things that non football fans criticise football for (and having lived in two non-footballing countries - the US and New Zealand, I have heard this complaint many, many times). And the Spanish are among the worst in the world at both. And frankly, the next time a Kiwi rugby fan or American basketball/NFL/baseball fan gives me stick for being a football fan, or criticises the game, I'll find it very hard to argue with them should Spain win tomorrow. Because 900 backwards/sideways passes, 20 dives and 1 goal is indeed boring and frustrating.

    Or maybe I'll direct them to England v Sweden.

  • Comment number 57.

    @48 gorgeousninja
    Spain being boring has nothing to do with England being inadequate. If you read most of these posts their common thread is Spain's own inadequacy in the goalscoring department. Most English fans loved watching 1970 Brazil, 1974 Holland who both made Spain's current team look ordinary because unlike Spain, they actually had no fear so went forward and scored goals. OK, Holland didn't win anything but will always be remembered as a greater team than W.Germany who beat them. Surely you're not going to claim that Brazil and Holland were kick and rush merchants? Forget England and their lack of style, we're discussing Spain!

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 50

    The fact that you don't watch tournaments when your own team are not taking part speaks volumes.

  • Comment number 59.

    The game has changed since 1970, why do you think no side has been able to play the way that Brazil side did & be successful. Even Brazil themselves have abandoned that style of play, realising that other sides are more disciplined in their approach. Spain play the %'s, they realise that if the other team doesn't have the ball then they are unable to effect the game. This may be 'boring' but to suggest it is an easy thing to achieve is nonsense.

    I thought they were entertaining once they fell behind to Italy, they carved them open 3 or 4 times when they were forcing it but that is not the way they have built their success. They are basically Barcelona without Messi so naturally they are not going to be as devastating. However, they have scored 8 goals and conceded 1 so far, whereas Italy have scored 6 & conceded 3. Is there really an argument that they are so boring???

  • Comment number 60.

    watching Spain is boring because of the way teams set up to beat them usually with 10 men behind the ball and looking to hit on the counter this is due to Spain dominating teams at Euro 2008 and was a constant throughout the World Cup and the current Euros with games getting more interesting when teams either try a force something different from Spain like the first half against Portugal or try and take them on at their own game

    A lack of goal mouth action is also a key factor is Spain's perceived boredom against Portugal there were only 2 shots on target in 90 minutes the result is alot of 1-0 games with goals mainly scored in the 2nd half as teams get tired chasing and the formation behind the ball fails more often this not due to Spain not playing a striker as this was exactly the same at the World Cup whn they had Villa and Torres playing more often

    I find Spain boring on occassions usually when they are playing badly but still maintain possession amazingly well and so the other team still can't make anything like against Portugal n the semis and Paraguay at the last World Cup and my favourite team in international football at the moment from a neutral perspective is Germany as they play one touch attacking football which reminds me of the football that pre-2010 Netherlands teams played but I do enjoy watching spain play a slick intricate passing move but often the tempo is slow as they look for a way past the wall/puzzle in front of them

  • Comment number 61.

    Keeping the ball is the basis of success in football. However possession football does become boring when the play becomes static, as in the Champions League Semi Final when Barcelona were standing outside Chelsea's penalty area and passing the ball around looking for an opening. Also passing the ball without any real attacking threat for long periods does get tedious.

    Sure, there's more excitement in the blood and thunder Premier League style of taking turns at possession, but that only works if both teams are careless with possession and give the ball away easily. In international tournaments such play is a disaster. Not keeping the ball is why England always make an early exit.

  • Comment number 62.

    Still not one person defending Spain's style has said they are "exciting", because it is inarguable - they are not.
    All the range of mis-direction and muddying the waters has been seen toight;
    Technically excellent - yes, but boring
    If only England could play like this - irrelevant, still boring
    Jealousy - many great teams are revered in this country
    Tall Poppy syndrome - why are Brazil / Germany this tournament much admired. Much taller poppies than Spain will ever be.

    Change the record all you Pseudo Intellectuals.....

  • Comment number 63.

    @49 RoyaltyinthePremiership
    Intersting how you mention the great Hungarian team of the 1950s and the greta 1970s total football Dutch team ; yes, these two teams did usher in a new style of football, the difference being that it was a joy to watch, because ... wait for it... it resulted in attacking play and lots of goals. Italy in the 1960s had successful but sterile catenaccio, now Spain have midfield possession. Hungary and Holland will be remembered as great, but Spain as negative, scared and ultimately boring (unless you like watching crabs play chess!)

  • Comment number 64.

    @48 "England are a sad joke"? Spare me the hyperbolic drivel. England are 4-2-0 after 90 minutes this month, despite having a new manager and huge injury list that has essentially robbed them of their entire midfield. And you can add to that Rooney's suspension and subsequent lack of match-fitness. And yet they still topped their group. And a side who just dispatched the Germans with ease were unable to score a goal in 120 minutes against England.

    Nobody is saying that this England B-team deserved to win Euro 2012, but to say they are "sad joke"? Spare me.

    If England are a sad joke, what does that make Norway, Belgium, Ukraine and Sweden, whom we beat? Or France and Italy who failed to beat us or required penalties to do so? Or Ireland, Greece, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Holland and Denmark, all of whom went home at the same stage or earlier?

    Football is about goals and results, and England do OK with both of those, hence their FIFA ranking. Not as good as Spain, Germany, Italy or Brazil, but just as good as anyone else. If you want a sport where points are awarded for technical ability, then I'm sure you'll enjoy the gymnastics at the Olympics next month.

  • Comment number 65.

    By the way, really poor article, even by Phil McNulty's standards. Little actually describing Spain's style, or exploring the roots of the allegations that it's boring - half the posters on here have offered some sort of analysis of this (without getting any of what is effectively taxpayer's money), and almost all disagree with the assertion that it's merely jealousy from other countries.

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 61 Kevin

    And "blood and thunder" can so quickly become thud and blunder!

  • Comment number 67.

    Boring is in the eye of the beholder. Very subjective. The real issue may be that teams have figured out how to frustrate Spain's style, but not how to actually beat them. Spain have responded very patiently to frustration, rather than naive gung-ho attacking. Its superb professionalism, has enjoyed very successful results, and is direct opposite of the years of under-achieving. Ironically, their defeat of Italy on penalties in 2008 quarters was the breakthrough game for the patient approach to an opposition trying to frustrate Spain's style. Prior Spanish teams probably lose that game.

  • Comment number 68.

    @62 DelbertWilkins
    Spot-on clarity - a brilliant post!
    Chess is played on a board, football on a field. Crabs play on the beach, moving sideways a lot, very reminiscent of Spain.
    May the tide come in tomorrow and end this boring era of total possession!

  • Comment number 69.

    Are Spain boring? It can be answered in three simple words - yes, yes, yes! The only games i've switched off this tournament were Spain v France and Spain v Portugal.

    Excellent team with excellent players, but the dullest play i've ever seen.

  • Comment number 70.

    They're boring. Don't try to dress it up as "people are bored of seeing them win", their style is boring. Watching the ball being passed side to side 5 times for every 1 forward is not entertaining football. Basketball brought in the shot clock to address the very same problem.

    There is also nothing wrong with playing a false nine. Roma were one of the first teams to use it as a regular feature of the team, then Man Utd and more recently Barca. There is a staggering lack of understanding of what the false nine role is - it is does not mean a midfielder playing as a stiker. Wayne Rooney plays the false nine role naturally, he comes towards the ball for a short pass from midfield. It pulls defenders out of position and (the key element) an on-rushing midfielder / winger exploits that space. Spain's problem seems to be only Cesc Fabregas understands how to exploit the space but he often ends up playing the false nine role and David Silva / Xavi don't exploit the space.

  • Comment number 71.


    Don't bring up number of goals scored as proof that Spain aren't boring, it only proves that for one game (vs Ireland) they actually created plenty of chances and scored a couple of goals, but for the rest of the time it's the usual 75% possession, 3 shots per game and one goal which is boring to watch

    Italy has been much more entertaining to watch and they have only scored 6, but if they had been more effective they could have scored 25 or more instead of just 6

  • Comment number 72.

    When was the last time Spain played against Argentina? Argentina are the masters of counter attack. They will even give you the ball on the half way line to sucker you in to then hit you hard. I hope Spain meet Argentina in the knock out stage in Brazil. It will be an end to an era. Spain will easily beat Italy 1-0 without even bothering to play.. and Mr. Olive Oil might even see RED. France were made to look dreadful by a Spain only playing at 50%. Germany v Portugal would have been a better final for football fans. Spain had luck with their last penalty. Spain can celebrate their victory over Italy but it will be their last for a very long time to come.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, Spain are boring.

  • Comment number 74.

    Spain have altered their style because other teams just park the bus and hope to counter, as they simply can not outplay Spain.They are the most technically gifted side ever, they starve teams of possession, and they win, simple as.I enjoy their football, not for everybody, but surely a little jealousy that others can not replicate it.History awaits them, 3 tournaments in a row and how they deserve it.

  • Comment number 75.

    The excessive passing game of Spain was boring in 2010 and it is boring now. The problem is not so much the passing game as such - it is the lack of combination of this with penetrating football. It is useful to contrast the Spanish team to Barcelona in this respect. I find Barcelona fantastic to watch almost always - and the reason is that they do have a significant attack element to their game.

    When watching Spain I love watching their movement off the ball and how aggressively they press the opponents when they lose the ball - that part is great. However as soon as they get the ball it gets a lot more dull. This is even more frustrating because when they do move to the incisive phase of their play they can be electrifying - but overall they are dull. Sorry.

  • Comment number 76.

    Spain have been boring not due to their sucess but as they seem to want to hold on to the ball over the oppotunity to score. The tikytaky style is actually being used in a very negative sense they are quite happy to keep the ball in the middle of the park to extent they almost don't want to attack the opposition. Spain during 2008 euro played beautiful passing attacking football but they don't play like that any more they play more like barcalona but without out Messi. They seem to have lost belief that their strikers can score so over rely on the midfield to create and score goals

  • Comment number 77.

    This reminds me of the Leeds United team during the Revie era. Very efficient but also predictable and somewhat boring but nevertheless reasonably successful. Personally, I wouldn't have driven up the road to watch Leeds but I quite happily traveled to watch Docherty's Manchester United (who could hardly win an argument back then), because they entertained me. As the eloquent Simon Barnes once said, 'sport should be about unpredictability, take that away and it soon loses it's appeal' (apologies if I've misquoted).

  • Comment number 78.

    I didn't state that amount of goals proves they are or aren't boring, I said that they have outscored their opponents in this weekends final. It is all about opinions, I don't find Spain boring, I thought France were the reason the game was poor when Spain beat them. I thought the Portugal game was decent, the fact you don't enjoy or even like watching them is perfectly fine, it is your opinion & I respect that. Phil asked whether people consider their style boring, I don't-you do. Doesn't change anything.

    I know that the loss of Villa has affected their approach to the games, Torres is in shocking touch and Llorente doesn't suit their overall style, they have adapted their game to suit the way they want to play. If they win 3 tournaments in a row then that is an amazing achievement, there are different ways to play the game. All are valid, all have brought their own forms of success and that is why we watch the game.

  • Comment number 79.

    And here's another one seeing as people have brought up England. England should let the opposition score as soon as possible after kick off.


    Because England chasing the game actually play good, exciting football! A completely different team to England at 0-0 or England 1-0 up!

  • Comment number 80.


    When the mood took them nobody could get the ball off Leeds United either.

  • Comment number 81.

    62. At 22:52 30th Jun 2012, DelbertWilkins wrote:
    Still not one person defending Spain's style has said they are "exciting", because it is inarguable - they are not.
    Well it is not inarguable. True, they are not as exciting as they were when they first lit up the stage, but that is largely due to the way that their opponents set themselves up. It is hardly their fault they are so good that other teams choose not to play against them.
    Witness the last world cup final where the Dutch of all teams betrayed their own footballing heritage in pursuit of the grand prize, much to the disgust of one Johan Cruyff.

  • Comment number 82.

    Mr DelbertWilkins has been proved right, nobody has posted that they find the Spanish exciting. Personally I find them impressive, interesting, but no not exciting.

  • Comment number 83.

    As somebody said before all is about opinions. I think if you want to enjoy a great tournament as World Cup or Euros you should do it in a play station. In a cup tournament you should win not play beautiful. In a league tournament could be different. Anyway, Spain is not playins its best (poor Villa) but its the team with more chances. Another point, have you ever seen someone like Iniesta? Only his presence in the pitch its really enjoyable.

  • Comment number 84.


    The point is not what is causing them to be boring. The article is "Are Spain boring"? The answer is yes. Again someone defending them (you) has to admit they are not exciting and again tries to muddy the waters of the central argument by blaming the other team / saying Spain are too good.
    No one is arguing if they are "good", as the old saying goes - "put your medals on the table". Every person who come on to defend Spain just ends up diggingthe hole further.
    Spain are boring to the majority of football fans and by saying this we are not phillistines just commenting freely on what we see not just regurgitating the perceived wisdom. Can 50%+ of football fans really be wrong...?

  • Comment number 85.

    Amazingly skilful and, when going forward, brilliant to watch. Too often, however, they don't 'push' for a goal or accelerate when they could and this can be boring to watch.

  • Comment number 86.

    if any one of the home nations were on the brink if winning the European Championship back to back with a World Cup sandwich in the middle, would this really be a topic for discussion?
    We are on the brink of history.
    As a Welshman, a series of victories in any competition would be most welcome, I know it's a different sport but in rugby, people admired the way the England pack bullied their way to a world cup win. Boring? No, Winning!
    I don't think that the Spaniards care a jot abour that tag. If they win, history will be made.

  • Comment number 87.

    Spain aren't boring, they're just ruthlessly efficient and unrelenting. These characteristics strangle their opponent and in doing so kill the game as a competitive spectacle.

    So I'd say if you're interested in competitive games, then yes, games with Spain involved are boring.

  • Comment number 88.


    I assume that when you say "when they first lit up the stage" you mean Euro 2008, in which case i agree that they were somewhat exciting to watch..

    But i don't agree that it's mostly their opponents fault that Spain isn't exciting anymore as they have been boring ever since Del Bosque took over, so i believe it's mostly Del Bosque and his variation of the tiki-taka that's to blame for the lack of entertainment when Spain play

  • Comment number 89.

    Shot clock? As in the NBA shot clock? if a team hasn't created a shot after keeping possession of the ball in play for more than five minutes they have to concede possession. Crazy idea but Spain wouldn't get through the group stage if they didn't have 70% possession because there defenders arent actually that good, they just never have to defend that much.

  • Comment number 90.

    In 20 years time the results will stand for themselves. Nobody is gona think "Boring Spain". If England had won the last two main tournaments playing the same way, I don't think the press would be saying "Boring England. Lets change the dymanics of our matches to make them more enjoyable to watch". Why would you? Their strategy is obviously a successful one. Winner of two main competitions and again in the finals... thats a hell of a lot more than the rest of Europe!

  • Comment number 91.


    Er I think you'll find that I am also expressing my opinion and never accused anyone of being a Philistine for not agreeing with it.

    On the contrary this line,( "The point is not what is causing them to be boring. The article is "Are Spain boring"? The answer is yes." ) would suggest that you are less amenable to others opinions.

  • Comment number 92.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 93.

    I think Ramos has been one of the defenders of the tournament, Pique has won everything in the sport at the age of 26 and Casillas is one of the all-time greats (won every major trophy imaginable), not bad for a buch of naff defenders.

  • Comment number 94.

    StuartT862 @12 hit the nail on the head. Spain move the opposition around open up huge spaces on the wing ... and then turn in and just keep passing the ball. (That's when you start thinking they might be just a smidgen dull to watch). They don't have to put in crosses (they dont seem to have any forward midfielders who would head a ball in), but at least they could get to the back line and pull the ball back to score a goal like Fabregas did against Ireland. Incidentally a corner and not a single player in the box?! Neat strategy... at least no-one can pull your shirt.

  • Comment number 95.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 96.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 97.


    Another new guise?

  • Comment number 98.


    Digitelis is correct Del bosque is blame his take on tiki-taka is to defensively minded. The opposition in this Euro have basically played open attacking football Spain played a Croatia that nearly beat them if their strikers had their shooting boots on. Portugal scared them neither of these teams sat back they both harassed them in the midfield and especially Portugal made them make mistakes. Blaming the opposition for Spain being to defensively minded not going after the goal remember they beat Croatia on the counter not through tiki-taka.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    Ok, so the infinite number of chimpanzees and their infinite number of word processors gave up on Hamlet and ghost wrote another pointless blog for Mr Mcnulty...cue the tribalism, cue the pointless comparisons with players past and present, cue the haters, cue the fan-boys...'If so and So played for them, they'd have walked it'..,'I played football once, and know nothing', cue damp squib and his 'sizzingly somnolent soporific slumber inducing' Spanish team...Italy to shade it I think. No, I don't think the Spanish are boring, I just think that with a squad with so much talent what's the point of 'chicken tikka' football, go out and play the damn game, you're impressing noone, except the wums and a certain troll or two


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