Has the Sun Set on Spain’s Golden Generation?
After suffering a humiliating 2-0 by Italy in the EURO 2016 tournament, they say Spain has reached the end of its golden football era. The Spanish national team is widely celebrated for consisting of some of the best players in the world, but the flame of its torch may finally be die out after its exit out of the European football championship.
The loss at the hands of Italy signaled that the team lacked the strategy and teamwork needed to turn the game around when faced playing under a different environment. This only reflected the lack of creativity and strategy by Vincent Del Bosque, the coach of Spain, required to surprise the opposing team with different tactics.
For many years, Spain has become synonymous with the tiki-taka technique of ensuring the ball stays within a close-knit circle of team players and exudes both an effective defense and offense strategy. In it, the players give each other passes over short distances to ensure possession stays within the team and so that the ball is moved past the field near the opposing team’s goal corner to heighten the chances of scoring a goal.
However, as time passed by, other teams were able to counter this strategy. One of the first team to do was the United States, which managed to defeat Spain in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals.
Others have expressed strong criticism of the technique, most notably by the former Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho. He remarked how the Spanish team’s attempt of using midfielders at the expense of strikers prevents them from playing offensively and score goals. The sentiment was also shared by Arsenal football club manager, Arsene Wenger, saying how the Spanish national football team have become less attacking and more defensive.
The lack of progression in Spain’s match-winning strategy under the wing of Vincent Del Bosque is being viewed as a reason for signaling the end of its golden generation. Winning the 2010 World Cup final against Holland may have been Spain’s last triumph; but, ever since, it has faced a decline despite having some of the best players the world has seen.
The early exit from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil triggered a time-bomb to what was the glory of Spanish football. Its loss to Italy in the recent EURO Cup match also showed why Spain no longer has the edge in football. During the match, Italian players showed greater intensity than Spanish players as they race through field. Antonio Conte was seen moving his arms somewhat hysterically while Del Bosque rarely showed any expression on his face while sitting down.
Iniesta failed to show his strength as team captain and neither Cesc Fabregas nor David Silva could find a way to reverse the situation. Distraction had engulfed all players of Spain while the Italian side had gripping focus and teamwork.
The future for Spain looks bleak. Del Bosque failed to cultivate a new spirit into the side that was more than capable of dominating every format of the sport. What Italy showed in the match was that having quality players only brings about results when you have the right strategy and tactics to win a match.
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