If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past twenty four hours you’d be aware of the fact that Spain have once again been crowned champions of Europe after an awe-inspiring 4-0 victory over Italy in last night’s Euro 2012 final. In spite of arduous comments from the media that their ‘Tiki-Taka’ style of football had become boring, La Roja silenced their critics once again by retaining their European Championship under the lights of Kiev’s Olympic stadium with a quite dazzling display of football. Here’s five important things we learned about Spain after the successful defence of their European title.
1) A new star was born in the form of attacking left back Jordi Alba – For me Jordi Alba was the real stand-out performer of this year’s tournament. Despite being defensively assertive, the 23 year old who has just been signed by Barcelona was a real hand-full going forward and topped off a splendid tournament with a fine finish in the final yesterday evening.
2) Even Spain have an off day – Despite comprehensively brushing aside their Italian opponents in the Euro 2012 finals, at times the Spanish could not find top gear during the tournament and had to rely on Lady luck to help see them over the finish line. La Roja’s 1-0 win over Croatia is a good example of this following a last-gasp goal from Jesus Navas which helped see Spain through to the knock-out stages but in the grand scheme of things every team needs some luck to win any tournament and La Roja got just that on this occasion.
3) Fernando Torres has still got it – Even though he played a bit part in this year’s Euro 2012 competition, Fernando Torres still managed to walk away with the coveted golden boot prize for his three goals and assist in Poland and Ukraine. Despite finishing level on three goals with the likes of Mario Gomez and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Spainard won the award for playing the least amount of minutes on the pitch which is a testament to the impact El Nino can still make. If any of you have read my article entitled ‘Three Spanish bets you should consider for this year’s European Championships‘ then you would have seen I backed Fernando Torres to finish leading scorer at a juicy price of 16/1!
4) Xavi is still the best passer in the world – despite the ‘Italian metronome’ Andrea Pirlo taking all the plaudits in the earlier rounds of the tournament for his unrivaled passing ability and finesse, it was once again Xavi who came up top trumps in yesterday’s unforgettable final assisting two of Spain’s four goals whilst his midfield opponent Pirlo was nowhere to be seen. There isn’t a better midfield pairing in the world than Xavi and Iniesta at the moment and this has been no less than crucial to their glittering success.
5) The hunger is still there – With back to back silverware already collected from the 2008 European Championships and 2010 World Cup, many might have falsely made the assumption that the desire was no longer there for Vicente Del Bosque’s men in winning major footballing tournaments. But judging by the way the 23 Spanish players celebrated following the referee’s final whistle yesterday in their resounding 4-0 win, it is clear Spain are still as dedicated as ever to succeed on a global scale and many people including myself are of the opinion that their reign of terror in international football is certainly not over, not by any stretch of the imagination.