Spain are boring. Period.
Hold on there, don’t raise your eyebrows or shout profanities. The reason behind the statement is the team's sheer dominance over their opponents in the world of football that makes one wonder whether their opponents line up just to see them walk away with all the accolades.
As the Euro 2012 tournament progressed they were accused of playing a game that was boring. Supposedly, their opponents got a hang of their ‘tiki taka’ brand of football.
The only reason one may accuse them of being boring is because of the fact that they have been at the pinnacle of the beautiful game for four continuous years with no other team coming close to challenging their hegemony. They have now won three major international titles between 2008 -2012 and thus have long said goodbye to the perennial tag of being underachievers.
“Who is the underachiever now?” a question that a smiling ‘Saint Casillas’ would be directi
ng at the critics while he, for the second consecutive time, lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup. This is in addition to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
What happened at Kiev on Sunday night would be something that the Italian football team will find hard to forget at least for few months to come. They’ll walk proud with nothing to be ashamed of. As the tournament began they were not considered to be in the fray, let alone being termed as the underdogs. However, they leave Ukraine as the second best footballing side in Europe. They will, however, regret the way things unfolded in the final match of 2012 Euro Championships against the mighty Spanish Armada. The 'Azzurri' produced a brilliant show against the Germans in the semifinal where a certain ‘Topless Mario’ with his double strike in the first half helped them confirm their place in a title showdown against the defending champions.
Their first match of the tournament was a positive sign. In the opener against the world champions, the turmoil ridden Italians put up a commendable performance. Although it was a 1-1 draw, intent was on full display from their side. Spain, on the other hand were a little relieved as well. They were the one trailing before Cesc Fabregas’ equaliser spared them the blushes. They went on to win their remaining matches while Italy ended on equal terms with Croatia before registering their first win against Ireland.
Spain’s royal march to the grand finale continued as a dream showdown with Germany became a reality when the tournament reached its business end. But then, Balotelli happened and the rest is history. Not to mention that Andrea Pirlo had already stamped his class with a brilliant free kick goal against Croatia (It was the only goal to have been scored in this manner in the tournament).
Gianluigi Buffon would have hoped for a fairytale ending starring himself, Mario and the l'architetto. Alas! It remained a dream as Spain ran rampant striking in the fourteenth minute of the first half. Luck was also not on their side as Thiago Motta’s injury pushed them in a tight spot reducing them to 10 men against arguably, as few experts are suggesting now, the best ever side in the history of football. The Italians were not poor as the score line of 4-0 might suggest. On Sunday, they were simply against a Spanish side that was at its brutal best. They looked to fight at the start but weren’t expecting their opponent to come so hard at them. The two goals were enough for Italy to raise their hand and accept defeat. This further spurred Spain to be more audacious in their attack and the next two goals from Torres and Mata were evidence of the Azzuri resigning to their fate.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)