Blogs & Opinion


Guillem Balague:

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 chance for Liverpool

Jamie Redknapp says Liverpool can't realistically hope to win the Premier League this season....

Jeff Stelling

Jeff: Resting players is costly

Why are clubs resting their stars in crucial games? It's costing them three points, says Jeff Stelling....

Jamie Carragher

Carragher: Which Blues are best?

Jamie Carragher reveals which Man City wizard and which Chelsea talisman he would have in his team....

Latest News RSS feeds

Liverpool undone by West Ham

West Ham United netted twice inside the opening seven minutes en route to a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Upton Park.

Mutu set for India switch

Ex-Chelsea and Juventus forward Adrian Mutu to sign for FC Pune City in the Indian Super League, Sky sources understand.

Arsenal blitz shatters Villa

Aston Villa’s unbeaten start to the season was ended by a devastating goal blitz as Arsenal enjoyed a 3-0 away win.

Cisse double saves Newcastle

Substitute Papiss Cisse saved the day for Newcastle and under-fire manager Alan Pardew in their 2-2 draw with Hull City.

Wanyama downs 10-man Swans

Victor Wanyama broke the resistance of 10-man Swansea as Southampton left the Liberty Stadium with a 1-0 win.

Features

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

Mesut Ozil – Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 3: What did you think of German World Cup winner in Premier League win?

One minute and 19 seconds. That was the time it took for a transformation in the appraisals of Mesut Ozil.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois adjusting to life in the Premier League

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois adjusting to life in the Premier League

Thibaut Courtois spoke exclusively to Soccer Saturday and described how he's finding life in the Premier League.

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

With 64 goals between them last season, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are two of the game’s best strikers. Born just three months apart on opposite sides of the Argentina-Brazil border, they were even team-mates at Atletico Madrid. But the pair have taken very different routes to the top.