Blogs & Opinion


Pressing ahead

Part 16: Technique and tactical intelligence is enough for Spain

Features - Guillem Balague Posted 1st July 2012 view comments

So, we got to the final.

I mean us the fans, the journalists too. Walking into the Spain press conference to see friends and colleagues, all you could see were tired faces.

Some of the Spanish journalists have been in seven hotels in the last seven days, and the travelling has almost killed them. The access to the players has been reduced with some interviews lasting two minutes, and only those that are close to the players being allowed to make phone calls for longer chats that could fill a whole page.

Xavi & Casillas: speak to the press on Saturday

Xavi & Casillas: speak to the press on Saturday

One of the most original contributions to the obligatory daily dose of interviews is the one chosen by my colleagues Javi Matallanas and Joaquín Maroto at AS.

Following the success of a TV series of a similar format, a few months ago they started an improvised chat by the coffee machine at the newspaper in front of a supposed security camera, the 'ultimate' fly on the wall.

This final is different. It is one to be won, but they know what they have to do, how to keep the right level of tension and there is no historical urgencies or an obligation to win it.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

They have reproduced that and have managed to speak to Vicente del Bosque, Gerard Piqué, Pedro, Fernando Llorente, Andres Iniesta, almost everybody! Have a look at the two stars of the tournament...

Different

And the game? Iker Casillas was saying in Saturday's press conference that he felt the pressure four years ago and the nerves in the World Cup.

This final is different. It is one to be won, but they know what they have to do, how to keep the right level of tension and there is no historical urgencies or an obligation to win it.

I feel the same. This team has made history in the statistical books (by equalling West Germany in reaching three consecutive finals) but also in the way they have followed a style that influenced huge football nations like Italy and Germany.

What can you learn from the Spaniards? Only that technique and tactical intelligence allows you to be whatever you want to be. Nobody should copy anybody else.

If you add to that the winning mentality (never mind the commitment, belief and those words used so often to describe failed tries at winning tournaments) then the cocktail is ideal.

Italy have got it too and scored first against us in the opening game. If we hadn't drawn straight away, we could be talking about a different final. I imagine del Bosque would insist on that same team (with Cesc Fabregas and no Fernando Torres) to guarantee control and win the game with Navas or Pedro or Torres from the bench.

Because games are not won by the first XI these days. Spain can do it, and if we do, I will remember those games we used to play in the school where we wanted to be French, Italian, German and I would imagine our kids will not need to learn other names than Iniesta (my man of the tournament), Xavi, Cesc, Torres, Silva, Piqué, Ramos, Iker... for those improvised street games.

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Matt Smith (Arsenal fan) says...

If Spainelona want to 'guarantee control' why don't they just put 7 in midfield and be done with it. This way of playing is stifling the core beliefs of the game of football, irrespective of whether it wins things or not. English teams like Manchester United and Liverpool didn't dominate by passing the ball around 500 times and nicking the odd goal, they mixed an attacking mentality with stout defence and never-say-die attitude. I hope Italy do the business tonight because their desire and overall form makes them worthy contenders.

Posted 13:36 1st July 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Arsenal close on Calum Chambers, Louis van Gaal coy on Kevin Strootman and Didier Drogba returns to Chelsea.

Van Gaal considers Strootman

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has refused to rule out making a bid for Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman.

Rooney: I want to be captain

Wayne Rooney is keen to be named Man United captain and is confident the team can challenge for the title.

Arsenal close to Chambers deal

Arsenal are close to signing Southampton defender Calum Chambers for £16m, according to Sky sources.

Drogba back at the Bridge

Chelsea have announced the re-signing of legendary striker Didier Drogba on a one-year contract.

Features

Didier Drogba's return to Chelsea is a sentimental one but the striker can still make an impact on and off the pitch

Didier Drogba's return to Chelsea is a sentimental one but the striker can still make an impact on and off the pitch

“It was an easy decision - I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with Jose again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.”