In my previous post I discussed Spain’s 4-6-0 formation and gave my opinion about it. I still stand by what I said, which is that I would prefer that other teams don’t play this formation and by doing so not make the role of a out and out striker redundant. I think if this happened, it would remove something special from this beautiful game. However Spain aren’t just any other team. They are by far the number 1 football nation on this planet at this moment and possibly ever.
Spain have totally evolved the idea of how football should be played, with every other European country now looking at them as a template for success. We all know Spain’s style of play is to keep possession, and they do that better than anyone. Although in my opinion that is not what makes them unique. It is their ability to change the dynamic of the game that is truly exceptional. With 1 good run and a perfectly timed pass they go from a team not looking particularly dangerous 40 yards out from goal against a team with 11 men behind the ball, to a 1 on 1 goal scoring chance. Players like Iniesta, Xavi, Silva, Fabregas, Alonso, Mata, Pedro, Muniain and Carzorla love to keep the ball and play simple passes, but then any 1 of them can spring into life with 1 through pass and 1 run. None of these players are restricted to where they can play and that constant rotation makes them almost unplayable. Add their flawless technique, impeccable vision and awareness of players around them and you have a team who can destroy anybody at any time, like they did to Italy on Sunday and Ireland earlier on in the tournament.
Spain have probably been overly criticised by a lot of people including myself during these European Championships. As they haven’t been able to reach their best, although they do say a sign of a good team is winning while not at your best. Yet they still produced an excellent display which proved all their doubters wrong in the final on Sunday. The score line in the end was in truth possibly a little flattering due to Italy playing the last half an hour with 10 men due to an injury to Thiago Motta but that cannot take anything away from this team.
Since I have been watching football, Brazil have always been the team to beat. They have always entertained and shown outrages flamboyancy. This entertainment went hand in hand with winning football matches and trophies. This ensured that every wanted to see them play, the were the highlights of the tournament. But perhaps this supremacy which they have enjoyed over the years, could be a shifting towards Spain? And with the Spanish under 21 side winning the U21 European Championships in 2011 playing the same style as the senior team, the future looks bright for them.
By Alan O’Brien
Vicente del Bosque could possibly have the easiest job in world football at the moment with the quality of players he has at his disposal. But while nobody can argue with Spain’s results in Euro 2012, with 9 goals scored and only 1 conceded from their 5 games so far, the same could not be said for their performances. Yes Spain will always have more possession of the ball then their opponent will and generally create more chances. But by flooding the midfield with 6 players are they damaging their performances.
Without doubt their midfield the strongest area of the squad. Especially when you take into account players like Mata, Pedro and Fabregas are not considered 1st choice in the starting XI. When you have players like Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso, Silva and Busquets playing in midfield, why is their a need to play a 6th midfielder? The 5 players already playing are probably the best in the world at holding possession and carving out chances. Playing another midfielder means they lack a vocal point for their attacks. When the opposing team gets men behind the ball in numbers 40 yards outside their goal, Spain need a player who will play high up the pitch, on the line of the defence making runs off the centre halves. This would straight away open up more space in midfield for players like Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to work their magic to create chances which a quality striker would thrive on.
Everybody knows Torres has had a torrid time in the last couple of years but as he proved against Ireland in the group stages, he will score when the opportunity arises. He may not be as technically gifted or as good a passer as the rest of the Spanish team, but what he offers is his willingness to stay as far forward as possible occupying both centre halves, as a result creating more space for the more creative players to flourish. By a team not playing a recognised centre forward, we will miss exciting battles between central defenders and centre forwards.
I hope clubs and other football nations don’t buy into this new formation of football as it will only deprive us of quality forward play, excitement and goals.
By Alan O’Brien