Blogs & Opinion

Guillem Balague:

Mind over mutter

Part eight - why Del Bosque is the right man to lead Spain

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 18th June 2012 view comments

Clearly, the single most decisive asset required for a team to become extraordinary is talent, both individually and collectively.

Then there is that ethereal thing called a Winning Mentality that some teams acquire at some point - often after breaking free from the handcuffs that might have limited their performances in the past.

Fabregas: passion could easily have been rage

Fabregas: passion could easily have been rage

It is something you cannot train and you either have it or you don't. All great sides have it, and it's what most often prevents talented sides from becoming great.

The Spain that won the European Championship of 2008 was essentially a squad full of talented players who managed to smash through psychological hurdle that had tripped previous generations at the quarter-final stage - and that they did so with a defined style more than helped the cause.

That winning spirit and competitive hunger in the Spanish squad is what makes the suggestion that these players will prepare for a 2-2 draw against Croatia - thereby guaranteeing qualification for both and eliminating Italy - absolutely ridiculous.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

This Euro 2012 crop of Spanish players is full of Champions League winners (from four teams),World Cup and European Championship winners; and domestic league winners (from the Premier League and La Liga).

Even for a simple training session every one of them is on their toes: the level of focus and commitment applied to everything that is done on and off the pitch is immense. I am not talking about whether Spain wins the tournament or not (as that depends on many factors, often external) but about a team that you know for a fact will give their all - and this group of players has an awful lot to give.


I'm discussing this for two reasons.

Firstly, I must admit that there was a moment when I doubted whether this team could still be as hungry for success as they were two or four years ago; after all, when you've won everything there is to win in the game, how do you keep lifting yourself for the fight?

That's not a criticism of this group of players, but a natural reaction to success. That was my worry. But you can tell that the appetite has not deserted this Spain side. (Incidentally, that winning spirit and competitive hunger in the Spanish squad is what makes the suggestion that these players will prepare for a 2-2 draw against Croatia - thereby guaranteeing qualification for both and eliminating Italy - absolutely ridiculous).

Secondly, having such an incredible depth of talent and proven winners in one side can present an entirely unique set of problems. For example: What do you do with the players who don't play, start matches or play a peripheral role?

You saw the way Cesc celebrated his goal against Ireland (his passion could easily have been rage, perhaps frustrated for not having started after scoring in the first game). Before the tournament started, Alvaro Negredo thought he had a chance to start against Italy and now, after Cesc has become the replacement for Torres, he is probably the third or fourth choice for the forward role.

Santi Cazorla came on against Ireland, which meant a Champions League winner like Juan Mata remained on the bench. Pedro hasn't played a single minute yet.

Those situations create a sort of competitive tension that can only be managed by a coach who is an expert diplomat, who has overseen the egos in the dressing room of a big club, who can resist reacting to a petulant attitude of a player because he has been a player himself.

Vicente del Bosque is, then, the right man to look after this group of immensely talented stars and winners.

Torres, by the way, should start against Croatia and for now the false striker game plan has been relegated to Plan B. What a fascinating list of options this team has.

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

Comments (2)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Mark Thomas (Manchester United fan) says...

Good article. I think we've all seen with the Netherlands how difficult managing a group of supremely talented players can be. I, like many, think this could be Germany's year. But the greater options that Spain have from the bench could be the difference. A Germany-Spain final seems inevitable and it should be great to watch.

Posted 11:26 18th June 2012

Huy Bui (Manchester United fan) says...

i certainly agree with him spain is the team have many talent in the per position. they the dominant for the world in last for year and i think them till continue in the next many time.the most things is surprise althought have many player talent in the team with the biggest ego in 2 team rival in the domestic Real and Barca but when play together in the national team whenever have the argument in the dressing room. that is the biggest key for the success and the man with help combined many those ego can't referred that is del Bosque tha man build up static with many the other plan in for last year. he is inspire within into all the them with the spirit .confident, concentrade.

Posted 10:20 18th June 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Toffees come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Latest News RSS feeds

Hazard may miss Madrid trip

Eden Hazard will need to return to full training quickly if he is to be considered for Tuesday's Champions League match.

Derby win makes Burnley wait

Derby County beat Doncaster 2-0 to keep the heat on Burnley in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Moyes braced for reception

Manchester United manager David Moyes is expecting a hostile reception when he returns to Goodison Park on Sunday.

Pellegrini expects slip-ups

Manuel Pellegrini is "absolutely sure" Manchester City's title rivals will drop points during the Premier League run-in.

Terry nears new Chelsea deal

John Terry will hopefully agree terms on a new contract in the next two weeks, says Chelsea coach Steve Holland.


PFA awards

PFA awards

Ramsey but no Henderson? Do you agree with the PFA Player of the Year nominees? Have your say.

Welcome back?

Welcome back?

David Moyes could be in for a mixed reception when he returns to Goodison, writes Vinny O'Connor.

Luis on Liverpool

Luis on Liverpool

We catch up with Reds cult hero Luis Garcia ahead of his Anfield return on Easter Monday.