Spain remain masters of the beautiful game
Published: 27.06.13 / Written by: David Gold
Anyone who witnessed just a few moments of the Spain v Uruguay match in the opening bouts of the Confederations Cup would have been hypnotised by the brilliance of La Roja, the speed at which the Spaniards played the game.
Vincente del Bosque’s side were simply a force of nature, dominating so completely that it was remarkable Uruguay ended the game with a hope of salvaging a draw.
They were helped by a Uruguay side set up to stifle and look for one of their key attacking trio of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez ahead of Gaston Ramirez. But all too often they failed to find the target, crowded out by a swarm of red shirts. Spain were simply sharper and quicker than their South American opponents, who had no answer to wave after wave of attacks.
The marvellous thing about Spain is that you know what they are going to do next yet it still takes the breath away. At one point Pedro deceived a flurry of Uruguayans with barely a swerve of the hips, and therein lies the Spanish brilliance. Their players are so intelligent that they can take an opponent out of the game with barely a touch of the ball or even moving an inch, simply the shape of the body and knowing where the space is about to open up.
Spain’s win raises the prospect that they will once again, sweep through the tournament and find themselves lifting a trophy at the end of it. It is incredible to think that barely a year ago the Spanish were going into Euro 2012 with people questioning whether they were still a great force and if their time was up. Barcelona’s struggles this year in Europe add to that suspicion but the evidence is that the national team is actually getting better.
On the eve of the Confederations Cup, del Bosque was justifying the lack of a central striker in the Spanish system in a traditional sense. He explained how they had tried various options, from Roberto Soldado to Alvaro Negredo, David Villa to Fernando Torres. None had been completely successful, he explained, so they instead used Cesc Fabregas, who offered them an option of someone who would get involved in the play. It is difficult to know which to pity – the dearth of striking options or having to resort to using Fabregas. These are dilemmas any other country could only dream of.
As it is, Soldado was used against Uruguay, and he may prove the best option of all up front, but it says so much that Spain don’t even need him. They are also without Xabi Alonso in Brazil, yet in his place is Javi Martinez, and Sergio Busquets hasn’t even been mentioned. This is an incredible array of talent with so much of it still relatively young. Look at the under 21 side, into the final of the European Championships in Israel looking to win back to back titles. Isco, Inigo Martinez, Alvaro Morata and others offer a glimpse into the future for the Spaniards, and it is just as enthralling. Thiago Alcantara is another, and it seems that this Spanish side, far from coming towards a halt, are showing no signs that their period of dominance is about to end. The reign of Spain is far from over.