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:

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Villa to beat Spurs and a draw in the Manchester derby... read what Paul Merson predicts this week....

Latest News RSS feeds

Sky Sports Today

Build-up to busy weekend of Premier League action in our live blog

Van Gaal: Rooney will play

Louis van Gaal has confirmed Wayne Rooney will play and will captain Manchester United in Sunday's derby against City.

Premier League preview

The Manchester derby takes centre stage on Sunday, with form sides Chelsea, Southampton and West Ham playing Saturday.

Costa returns for Chelsea

Jose Mourinho welcomes back Diego Costa to the Chelsea squad for Saturday’s London derby with QPR.

NI fans cleared for Romania trip

UEFA has cleared Northern Ireland fans to travel to Romania for their European qualifier on November 14.

Features

What next for Spurs?

What next for Spurs?

"Lads, it's Tottenham."

Gerrard and Ramsey figure on out-of-sorts list

Gerrard and Ramsey figure on out-of-sorts list

Sometimes the pressure of repeating an impressive season can prove hard to handle for players. It's not uncommon that the standards laid down one year are struggled to be met thereafter.

The statistics that show Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is enduring a slump in form so far this season

The statistics that show Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is enduring a slump in form so far this season

Yaya Toure has had his moments. There was the whipped strike against the crossbar against West Ham last weekend and the deadlock-breaking effort late on at Aston Villa. It’s not that he’s failing to contribute. It’s that this contribution is so diminished by comparison to last season’s heroics.