Blogs & Opinion


Guillem Balague:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Cem Takaci on Making his mark

"Hi Guillem, all of this hype sourounding jose mourinho and the saying that the wave is swinging for real madrid right now. But once Jose leaves and it does seem that he will if not this... " View all comments

Siyavuya Zamxaka on Awesome foursome

"wonderfull column as always...I think Madrid have a better chance of winning the Cup game in all of these 4 games. This is because Mourinho can play any system and not worry about how ... " View all comments

Perspective perhaps?

Part 10 - Spain's squad are feeling a sense of negatvity back home

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 21st June 2012 view comments

Unlike others sides that danced around the pitch and partied with their fans at the final whistle, Spain were the only team that didn't celebrate getting into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012. Why?

Expectations are huge back home and the players are completely in touch with the mood of the nation because they can watch Spanish television in their training camp in Gwinewino, Poland.

It is a great way to have a feel for what people think back home but it can also create the wrong impression. A lot has been said (and written, and yes, they read Spanish papers too) about the necessity of having Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso together, or the reasons why Xavi doesn't pass the ball to Alvaro Arbeloa that often.

Arbeloa: the subject of debate

Arbeloa: the subject of debate

In fact, some players have been discussing with Vicente del Bosque the necessity of being even more attacking and changing players in those two (defensive midfield and right back) positions, but Vicente has cut the debate by assuring them the Xabi / Busquets double pivot set up is non-negotiable - and the first choice full backs stay as they are.

Qualification is secured and, because everybody expects it while demanding better football and more convincing victories; it is seen as a relief that it arrived - a foregone conclusion amongst some fans and therefore not a cause for celebration.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

They are legitimate arguments but in the hands of certain commentators they can be received as a criticism of the World and European champions - and the players have heard the comments.

The squad now senses there is too much focus on the negative and less on the fact that they ended up top of the group - which has created tension.

Qualification is secured and, because everybody expects it while demanding better football and more convincing victories; it is seen as a relief that it arrived - a foregone conclusion amongst some fans and therefore not a cause for celebration.

Well, if you have any doubt of how Spain are doing - and please, some perspective: no team has had a perfect tournament, even the Germans have not had a perfect 90 minutes yet - then have a look at the stats.

Spain are the side with the highest possession stats with the ball; spending the most minutes in the opposition half; the most passes; the most goals; the most shots at goal; they have conceded the least (1); they have received least shots at goal per match (6). And they are the second team in terms of ball recovery - only Russia did that better.

Maybe we should readdress our impressions and analyse Spain, not from where we want them to be, but from where they are.

Guillem Balague's Euro Diary will become, along with added entries and interviews, an eBook at the end of the tournament.

For more info, check www.guillembalague.com

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Time to boss it

Injuries to key men for Man Utd and Chelsea will test the tactics of both bosses, says Jamie Redknapp....

Latest News RSS feeds

West Ham dent City title hopes

West Ham put a severe dent in Manchester City's title aspirations after earning a deserved 2-1 win at Upton Park.

Suarez vows not to bite again

Barcelona's Luis Suarez is adamant his biting days are behind him as he returns from a four-month ban against Real Madrid.

Saturday live!

Follow all of Saturday's action, including live text commentaries on all Premier League games and El Clasico.

Saturday's Paper Talk

Zenit St Petersburg's Argentina centre-back Ezequiel Garay is reportedly a Manchester United target, plus more from the papers.

Carra: Zamora must keep place

QPR must keep starting Bobby Zamora, says Jamie Carragher, and hold fire on recalling Adel Taarabt.

Features

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

El Clasico Combined XI: Guillem Balague leaves out Neymar and Gareth Bale

Real Madrid host Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 5 at 5pm. Here, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague picks a combined XI of Real and Barca players. Do you agree with his selections?

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Cesc Fabregas was adamant when asked the question. Could Chelsea remain unbeaten? “No, no, this is a joke. This is a joke. There will only be one team who can do that - the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2003.” Respectful of his former club’s achievement and downplaying expectations.

Is El Clasico all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? It's also a big one for Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez and Isco

Is El Clasico all about Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? It's also a big one for Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez and Isco

When the two greatest players in the world are on show, it's understandable that they should grab the bulk of the attention. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are both fit and in form for El Clasico this Saturday and that means this could be a showdown to remember.