Blogs & Opinion


Guillem Balague:

Pressing ahead

Part 16: Technique and tactical intelligence is enough for Spain

Guillem Balague - Guillem Balague Posted 1st July 2012 view comments

So, we got to the final.

I mean us the fans, the journalists too. Walking into the Spain press conference to see friends and colleagues, all you could see were tired faces.

Some of the Spanish journalists have been in seven hotels in the last seven days, and the travelling has almost killed them. The access to the players has been reduced with some interviews lasting two minutes, and only those that are close to the players being allowed to make phone calls for longer chats that could fill a whole page.

Xavi & Casillas: speak to the press on Saturday

Xavi & Casillas: speak to the press on Saturday

One of the most original contributions to the obligatory daily dose of interviews is the one chosen by my colleagues Javi Matallanas and Joaquín Maroto at AS.

Following the success of a TV series of a similar format, a few months ago they started an improvised chat by the coffee machine at the newspaper in front of a supposed security camera, the 'ultimate' fly on the wall.

This final is different. It is one to be won, but they know what they have to do, how to keep the right level of tension and there is no historical urgencies or an obligation to win it.

Guillem Balague
Quotes of the week

They have reproduced that and have managed to speak to Vicente del Bosque, Gerard Piqué, Pedro, Fernando Llorente, Andres Iniesta, almost everybody! Have a look at the two stars of the tournament...

Different

And the game? Iker Casillas was saying in Saturday's press conference that he felt the pressure four years ago and the nerves in the World Cup.

This final is different. It is one to be won, but they know what they have to do, how to keep the right level of tension and there is no historical urgencies or an obligation to win it.

I feel the same. This team has made history in the statistical books (by equalling West Germany in reaching three consecutive finals) but also in the way they have followed a style that influenced huge football nations like Italy and Germany.

What can you learn from the Spaniards? Only that technique and tactical intelligence allows you to be whatever you want to be. Nobody should copy anybody else.

If you add to that the winning mentality (never mind the commitment, belief and those words used so often to describe failed tries at winning tournaments) then the cocktail is ideal.

Italy have got it too and scored first against us in the opening game. If we hadn't drawn straight away, we could be talking about a different final. I imagine del Bosque would insist on that same team (with Cesc Fabregas and no Fernando Torres) to guarantee control and win the game with Navas or Pedro or Torres from the bench.

Because games are not won by the first XI these days. Spain can do it, and if we do, I will remember those games we used to play in the school where we wanted to be French, Italian, German and I would imagine our kids will not need to learn other names than Iniesta (my man of the tournament), Xavi, Cesc, Torres, Silva, Piqué, Ramos, Iker... for those improvised street games.

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Matt Smith (Arsenal fan) says...

If Spainelona want to 'guarantee control' why don't they just put 7 in midfield and be done with it. This way of playing is stifling the core beliefs of the game of football, irrespective of whether it wins things or not. English teams like Manchester United and Liverpool didn't dominate by passing the ball around 500 times and nicking the odd goal, they mixed an attacking mentality with stout defence and never-say-die attitude. I hope Italy do the business tonight because their desire and overall form makes them worthy contenders.

Posted 13:36 1st July 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea go three points clear

Chelsea will be top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day after beating Stoke 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Neville: Duo are miles away

Liverpool and Arsenal can forget about winning trophies until they learn how to stop the opposition, says Gary Neville.

Jose: My team were perfect

Jose Mourinho says his Chelsea players were "amazing" after they beat Stoke 2-0 to go three points clear of Man City.

Carlisle seriously injured

Former PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has suffered serious injuries after being hit by a lorry.

Hyypia quits as Brighton boss

Sami Hyypia has left Brighton after the club accepted his resignation as manager.

Features

Premier League: Chelsea show the fighting spirit in their 2-0 win at Stoke that can take them to the title

Premier League: Chelsea show the fighting spirit in their 2-0 win at Stoke that can take them to the title

Adam Bate looks at how Chelsea showed in their 2-0 win at Stoke City on Monday Night Football that they have the toughness as well as the quality needed to win the Premier League title this season...

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

"It was a bizarre game and lots of unusual things happened." That was how Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith summed up Liverpool and Arsenal's thrilling 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Adam Johnson once again grabbed the headlines in the Tyne-Wear derby, finding the net at St James’ Park for the third season in a row to help Sunderland to a record fourth-straight victory over arch rivals Newcastle in the Premier League.