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

Redknapp: No need to worry

Jamie Redknapp isn't concerned after the English clubs made their worst ever Champions League start....

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

The best goalscoring streaks and the Premier League's oldest and youngest... here's Martin!...

Paul Merson

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Paul Merson says Arsenal's defeat in Dortmund shows why silverware could be beyond them this year....

Latest News RSS feeds

Late Boateng strike hurts City

Jerome Boateng's deflected late strike against his former side was enough for Bayern Munich to beat Man City 1-0.

Chelsea held by Schalke

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by Schalke at Stamford Bridge in their opening Group G Champions League clash.

New Villa deal for Lambert

Aston Villa have announced manager Paul Lambert has signed a contract extension with the club until June 2018.

Hart left broken by Bayern

Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart admitted Jerome Boateng's late winner for Bayern Munich felt like a kick in the teeth.

Mourinho rues missed chances

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Chelsea's failure to kill off Schalke with a second goal before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's equaliser.

Features

Champions League: Yaya Toure off the pace as Manchester City succumb to late goal against Bayern Munich

Champions League: Yaya Toure off the pace as Manchester City succumb to late goal against Bayern Munich

Vincent Kompany said earlier this week that Yaya Toure was "not far off" signing a new Manchester City deal; that's considerably closer than he got to any Bayern Munich midfielder on Wednesday night.

Who is the real Ronald Koeman? Former team-mate Rob McDonald shares his memories of the Southampton boss

Who is the real Ronald Koeman? Former team-mate Rob McDonald shares his memories of the Southampton boss

Not many Englishmen know Dutch football better than Rob McDonald. The former Newcastle United striker spent the best part of eight years in the country as a player, winning the Eredivisie title during his time in Eindhoven with a PSV team that included the genius of Ruud Gullit.

The Science of Scouting: Young Players

The Science of Scouting: Young Players

In this age of analysis it’s possible for clubs to gather vast amounts of data on potential signings.