Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

No one really saw this one coming. Tournament favourites Spain yesterday lost to Switzerland 1-0. Inspite of having plenty of possession Spain just couldn’t manage to score. Credit to Switzerland though. They defended really deep and they hit Spain on the counter which is certainly the best way to play against Spain. Spanish supporters will be fearing the worst. They have seen this many times and will be hoping they will be able to bounce back which I think they will.

Fernando Torres was not fit enough to start so David Villa played as the lone striker. Del Bosque decided to go with 2 defensive midfielders which was a very strange decision. It was very obvious Swiss were going to defend for most of the game so it didn’t really make sense to play both Alonso and Busquets. These two did not have a bad game but they just couldn’t provide that attacking edge even though Alonso came really close to scoring.  Spain didn’t have any goalscoring midfielders yesterday and Del Bosque in the absence of Torres should have gone with Fabregas who scored 19 goals for Arsenal this season.

Wondering what he needs to do to get into the team

Spain started the game really well with Swiss hardly touching the ball. But it took them nearly 20 minutes before they got a shot on goal. Iniesta was looking really lively and had to face several crunching challenges from the opposition. Pique got the best chance in the first half but his shot was well saved by  Benaglio.

Spain started the second half with a lot more urgency. They created plenty of half chances but failed to convert them. Spain got plenty of corners and free kicks in the second half but their set pieces were disappointing to say the least. Swiss then scored through a simple long ball and some terrible defending. Alonso didn’t track Dedriyok back and his effort was saved by Casillas but Gelson Fernandes somehow managed to bundle it home. Del Bosque then decided to bring Torres and Navas on for Silva and Busquets. Torres clearly didn’t look completely fit and didn’t make much of an impact. Navas started brightly  but then struggled towards the end. His crosses were pretty poor most of them hitting the near post defender.

Man City fans the world over celebrated

Iniesta then suffered an injury and Del Bosque strangely brought on Pedro instead of Mata or Fabregas. Pedro failed to make any impact. Except for Alonso’s effort which hit the bar and one effort from Navas Spain never really came close to scoring.  Spain nearly conceded a second towards the end when Derdiyok brilliant run ended up in his effort hitting the post.

You could see from their performance that they were very over confident. There was a touch of arrogance in the way they played. They were trying to score the perfect goal with most of the players opting to pass when a shot at goal would have been a better option. David Villa’s chip in the first half summed it up. Switzerland are a tough team to beat but Spain made it hard for themselves by complicating things. In a way this defeat could do them a lot of good. It will help get rid of complacency. It is definitely a wake up call for them. They will need to be a lot more direct and clinical  and playing Torres and Fabregas will certainly help. Lesson to be learnt from the game against Switzerland? Goals win you matches and not possession.


Posted: June 4, 2010 in World Cup
Tags: , ,

Spain will not get a better opportunity to win the world cup. It is hard to believe that a country that has produced so many talented footballers has never won a world cup. But the current national team managed by Vincent del bosque has a chance to end their miserable run in the World Cup. They recently won  EURO 2008 and it would have given them the much needed belief which the previous teams lacked. They come into this tournament with their star performers all fit and in form.

The fact that Cesc Fabregas cannot get into their starting lineup gives you an indication about how strong their team is. They won all their 10 games in the qualification. They have world class players in almost every single position except for maybe the left back. What makes them really special is how they tick as a team. It is not about individuals even though they have some outstanding players. They have a real mix of experience and youth. It is pretty much the same team that won EURO 2008 so they know what it takes to win a major international competition.

European Champions to World Champions?

Spain’s biggest strength is going forward. I can’t remember the last time I saw a team with so many world class creative players. In Xabi Alonso, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Juan Mata, Jesus Navas and Cesc Fabregas they have players who can rip any defense apart. But the player who really makes this Spanish side tick is Xavi who is without a doubt the best playmaker in the world right now. He holds this team together. Xavi can have the kind of impact that the great Zidane had in the last world cup. Expect the duo of  Xavi and Iniesta to have a major impact in Africa.

Simply Sublime - Xavi Hernandez

In Torres and Villa they have the arguably the best strike partnership in the world. Only Argentina have strikers of this quality at their disposal. These two will definitely guarantee goals. Also both are capable of playing as a lone striker which allows Del Bosque to play someone like Fabregas when required. Flexibility is what separates Spain from a team like England or Italy.

Spain’s defense is pretty solid except for the Left back slot. In Pique and Puyol they have two solid centre backs that play together for Barcelona. Sergio Ramos at Right back is great going forward but can be vulnerable defensively. Capdevilla or Arbeloa will compete for left back position and both are pretty average players. Compared to the other teams their defense is not that solid but such is the quality of their midfield that  they are rarely troubled. If there is one way that their defense can be troubled it is through set pieces. Casillas will be keeping for them even though on form basis Pepe Reina deserves it. While Del Bosque has to choose between Casillas and Reina Capello is wondering whether he should play David Calamity James or Robert Green. Anyway I can’t see Casillas losing his place.

Vicente Del Bosque is a top manager. He has won the champions league twice with Real Madrid and under him Spain have won 23 out of their 24 games. As a manager he has what it takes to deliver at the big stage. He has a great squad at his disposal and the pressure is on him to deliver.

Squad –

Goalkeepers – Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Valdez (Barcelona)

Defenders – Albiol (Madrid), Pique (Barcelona), Puyol (Barcelona), Ramos (Madrid), Marchena (Valencia), Arbeloa (Madrid), Capdevila (Villareal)

Midfielders – Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Madrid), Fabregas (Arsenal), Mata (Valencia), Navas (Sevilla), Busquets (Barcelona), Martinez (Bilbao), Silva (Valencia)

Forwards – David Villa (Barcelona), Pedro (Barcelona), Torres (Liverpool), Llorente (Bilbao)

Expected line up


Ramos                    Pique                        Puyol                Arbeloa

Silva                     Alonso                       Xavi                   Iniesta

Torres                      Villa

Prediction – Winners. They clearly have the most talented team and are clear cut favourites to win the tournament. Anything less than the first place will and should be considered as a disappointment.