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Superior Spain writes more history
by Mike Woitalla, July 1st, 2012 8:24PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  european championship, spain

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[SPAIN-ITALY REPORT CARD] Another round of superlatives comes Spain's way after a 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final made Spain the first team in history to sandwich a World Cup title with two European Championship crowns.

* Spain’s 4-0 win was the biggest final victory in European Championship (and World Cup) history.

* Spain became the first team to win back-to-back Euro titles since the quadrennial competition’s inauguration in 1960.

* Spain conceded only one goal in six Euro 2012 games -- in its 1-1 tie with Italy in their Group C opener.

* Spain (2012, 2008, 1964) joins Germany (1972, 1980, 1996) as the only three-time Euro winners.

* Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who guided Spain to the 2010 World Cup final after taking over for 2008 Euro-winner Luis Aragones, joins West Germany’s Helmut Schoen as the only men to coach World Cup and Euro winners. Del Bosque also won two Champions League and two Spanish La Liga titles with Real Madrid in 2000-02.

* Each of Spain’s four goals was a golazo, giving goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon no chance. David Silva, one of Spain’s five 5-foot-7 players, opened the scoring in 14th minute by heading home a short Cesc Fabregas cross after Andres Iniesta’s precise pass sent Fabregas down the wing. Left back Jordi Alba, on a breakaway created by Xavi’s pass, struck before halftime. Subs Fernando Torres (set up by Xavi) and Juan Mata (finishing off a neat Torres pass) rounded out the scoring.

* Spain has not lost a knockout-round game at the Euros or World Cup since France beat it 3-1 at the 2006 World Cup in the round of 16.

* Keeper Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Silva, Xabi Alonso and Torres (who also scored in the 1-0 Euro 2008 win over Germany) became the first players to play in two Euro final victories. All but Silva played in the 1-0 win over the Netherlands in 2010 World Cup final.

* Next up. Spain’s quest to become the third team in history to win back-to-back World Cups after Brazil (1958, 1962) and Italy (1934, 1938). The oldest member of the Spain squad is 32-year-old Xavi.

SPAIN REPORT CARD

Starters
8 Iker Casillas
(Real Madrid)
8 Jordi Alba (Valencia)
8 Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
6 Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
6 Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid)
8 Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
8 Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
6 Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
9 Xavi (Barcelona)
7 David Silva (Man. City)
8 Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona)
Substitutes
6 Pedro
(Barcelona)
8 Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
7 Juan Mata (Chelsea)

ITALY REPORT CARD

Starters
5 Gianluigi Buffon
(Juventus)
4 Ignazio Abate (AC Milan)
3 Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
4 Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)
3 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
3 Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
5 Daniele De Rossi (Roma)
4 Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina)
4 Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
5 Antonio Cassano (AC Milan)
3 Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Substitutes
3 Federico Balzaretti
(Palermo)
3 Antonio Di Natale (Udinese)
nr Thiago Motta (Paris SG)

(1=low; 5=average; 10=high.)


Notable: Italy played the final 29 minutes with 10 men because Thiago Motta, Italy's third and final sub in the 57th-minute, was stretchered off with a hamstring injury four minutes later. Giorgio Chiellini was subbed in the 21st minute because of injury.



35 comments
  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 8:16 a.m.
    Spain is the model to follow. Great skill, fast high IQ Soccer that is fun to watch. I hope USA enthusiasts can now get finally get away from the English style.

  1. Gene Jay
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 10:04 a.m.
    Wishful thinking Luis, but doubt that will happen in the USA, or very many other countries either. Easy to say 'play like Spain', which is really means play like Barca'. Reality is that takes commitment to train kids not to score, but possess. Very few people have the culture to do that, certainly not in the USA. A chubby 9 year old who plows his/her way to 5 goals will always be the hero over the slight of build 9 year old with fantastic touch.

  1. Nikolaus Gabris z
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.
    Spain showed the world how the game should be played. Total team effort. Showed a lot of class during game, unlike the Italians with their constant whining, diving, complaining, their frustration showed during the whole game, even their coach could not help them with his constant yelling at players from the sidelines, very annoying. Congrats to Spain.

  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 12:19 p.m.
    Spain just put on a clinic against Italy. Is Spain one of the best teams ever as suggested by some soccer pundits? Let's put this into historical context, Brazil 1970? Italy 1934 & 1938? Germany 1974? Or even Argentina 1986? I guess only time will tell, until then Spain well done, well done!

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.
    Spain needed a little luck to get past Croatia and in the PK game But the score lines tell all It's not just possession and a high IQ. It's a hellacious press that allows thè defense to be ready when called on and a defense that can possess just like the attack This stuff is learned starting at age 6 From what I have seen of youth coaching we have a long way to go . Short term we need let Klinsmann do his thing. He knows what type of players we need to compete against Spain Question is do we have them yet this cycle ?

  1. stewart hayes
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.
    Spain was superior yesterday. Is this the model for the future? I hope not. Lets not forget the hours of endless passing that we have had to suffer watching Spain the last few years. If this was what my youth coach wanted from me I would have quit the sport at an early age. I find the Spanish model, on the whole, as boring and uninspiring as a packed defense-counterattacking game. I'd almost rather watch baseball. Most teams know their limitations. Italy apparently does not and they have only themselves to blame for such a poor tactical and physical performance.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
    What is most impressive about Spain (in addition to their underrated defensive efforts) is both the proper weight of the passes (Xavi's pass to Jordi Alba being a superb example of this) and how quickly and smoothly they can turn a ball they've received. Okay, the timing of their runs is also impressive. Watching them make runs from a few yards in front of the defenders, and seeing how often the pass is hit just as the runner is about to go offside allows them to get behind defenses so easily. It was unfortunate that Italy lost a man due to injury with so much time left, but having 11 certainly would not have enabled the Italians to win. Of course, the scary part is that they played this well without David Villa and Carlos Puyol.

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.
    C'mon possession soccer being viewed as bad is like saying you don't care for the triangle offense in basketball. The best D is O. Sorry that's just wrong. I also hate the term possession without purpose. Spain never does this. They are either trying to score or kill off a game. You want to criticize thè Spanish then it's only logical to criticize their opponents who can't score on them first thus forcing Spain to play more wide and direct If you don't like the Spanish team them go back to American football ..... Brazil right now is probably building its team to beat Spain They will need immensely skilled backs and d mids to avoid the Spanish press If they can beat the press they can beat the Spanish. Easier said than done But don't count out Spain just yet. I think they will re-tool to be able to compete in a track meet ( which they can do well already). In the future whoever beats Spain will be a team that out scores them 4-3 That was the mistake teams have made the past few years --ceding possession to Spain and trying to erect a wall of giants in defense with little ability to pass or dribble out of trouble

  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 2:14 p.m.
    Until (which will never happen) the goal is enlarged to a reasonable size, the endless passing is the best way to use skill to win. What else can you do when you're the more skilled team and are saddled with a tiny goal and the defense packed around it in a shell? I congratulate Italy. Altho' they did whine and dive and do the unsportsmanlike just enough not to get yellow carded fouling, it was much less than they usually do. Not only that, they played wide open and took their beating like men. I've never had as much respect for Italy as in this match.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 3:28 p.m.
    Hey Stewart Hayes, I know of many baseball games you can go and watch in person or on your tv, and you can even tivo them to your heart's content! As for you finding Spain's style of play boring and uninspiring, well, I suppose you should also try watching a golf match sandwiched in between a bb game, or better yet how about the game of watching grass grow and paint dry? As for La Forza Italia, yes they do play good soccer, but yesterday their reliance on a possible catenaccio style fizzled and Los Queridos Gachupines (a term of endearment for Spaniards) capitalized. Kudos for the Italianos for hanging in ufor at least 2/3's of the game, so BRAVISIMO and a resounding OLE! to Espana!!!

  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.
    Couldn't help but think back to Guardiola's somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment from a couple of years ago. He told a press conference that Barca kept possession because "we aren't very good without the ball". Spain's style simply points out that no one else is very good without the ball! Aside from the absolutely mesmerizing sequence of passes that leads up to a goal, the beauty of Spain's style is watching 6 or 8 players in a 10 yd square of the field try to win the ball as the Spainish complete an endless series of 3-4 yd passes. No 50-50 long balls here!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 4:32 p.m.
    Stewart, what style do you like? If you don't appreciate what Spain did then I hope not too many people think like you. How can just kicking the ball down the field be more fun to watch? Are you saying MLS is fun to watch? Is England fun to watch?

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.
    What does this game say of Germany who played Italy to a fairly even game? Wasn't Germany the heavy favorite to win this?

  1. bF BF
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 5:21 p.m.
    Stewart...your British is showing :)

  1. stewart hayes
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 5:45 p.m.
    Look you guys it is not that I don't appreciate Spain's possession game. I do. I wanted them to win and was pounding the table wanting 5! Spain can win games but is that how we will ultimately measure them? I agree with Sirias above that they have a crushing press. It is perhaps as much responsible for their success as anything. I just don't like watching a game with 100 passes per shot. If you don't think that is a reasonable criticism then we can agree to disagree. Frankly, I think Spain could more goals if they lost possession more frequently. What you give up with possession is the unexpected gain that results with more transitions. As a youth model I don't think an emphasis on so much possession it will draw players to the game. It is more likely to do the opposite.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 2, 2012 at 9:19 p.m.
    As a youth model you can play a possession game but include many overlap runs or risky filtered passes and the kids will love it and learn. That's what I do. The majority of teams in USA play a kick and run game and the teams that win usually have the fastest stronger more physical players. If you know nothing about soccer I guess it would be fun for the big fast kids but I bet they get pissed at their highly paid coaches after they grow up and realize that they grew up loving a sport but never got to learn the skills needed because his coach was using his athleticism to get the wins to keep his job. At the youth level if you play a possession game you will lose the ball plenty because you will risk playing the ball back and around through you're last defender. The reason Spain passes so many times per shit is because most teams won't play them straight up so they have to possession and draw them out to then attack. So you see Stewart, it is not Spain that makes the game boring it is the opposing purely defensive lets fall back and play them to a tie teams that kill the game. You k ow Chelsea!! The problem is you see this Chelsea style way too much in youth soccer in USA and it sucks and is boring to watch. If Spain played another Spain you would see the best soccer in the world. Lets follow Spain's steps and play them straight HP so they don't have to pass usted around 100 times!!

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 3, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
    Stewart - don't worry about Luis - he never played the game and is just a daddy coach so when he says things like 'the majority of teams in the USA play kick and run' - he doesn't really have a clue what he is talking about or any factual evidence to any of his statements.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 3, 2012 at 2:59 p.m.
    Karl, great comment, on both the stye suiting the size of the goals and respect for the Italians going after the Spanish. I think you guys are being a bit too hard on Stewart; I think he's just suggesting that we remember that you don't get points for possession. I've coached for many years and emphasized possession, but having players play possession for the sake of possession does become tedious after a while (and can lose intensity, and therefore utility). Players like to score (and fans like to watch players score), so possession games that lead to opportunities to finish are more fun (and probably more productive). It must not be forgotten that the Spanish finishing was superb (especially Silva's header); which team finishes better often determines the outcome (of course, against the Spanish, it's sometimes hard to get the opportunity to finish). So possess with a purpose and finish, and everybody's happy.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 4, 2012 at 9:08 a.m.
    Gordon, nobody really cares what you have to say. You bring nothing to the table and you're obsession over me is disturbing. I will do more with my little knowledge and education in a shorter amount of time than you will ever do. I think that's what pisses you off the most. The possibility.

  1. Kevin Anderson
    commented on: July 9, 2012 at 8:33 p.m.
    gentlemen, I have played the game from AYSO to college to the pros, I have seen tons of different approaches/styles and clearly what America has been doing has not been working. Spanish possession and total team defense is absolutely 100% the way to play the game. The problem is that in America, like many other countries, we constantly give up possession. Until we teach our youth to not only keep the ball but actually value keeping the ball we will never go anywhere. MLS is terrible, most defenders still boot the ball up the field the majority of the time. There really is no argument, Spain will win again in Brasil in 2014 and maybe by then people will truly realize how the game should be played.

  1. Denis Granado
    commented on: July 10, 2012 at 12:08 p.m.
    Kevin, EXCELLENT commentary!!! And as for the Hayes brothers...my suggestion for you is to GET TO KNOW what a TEAM game is all about. Spain is playing as close to PERFECT soccer as you can get. They do NOT have physically overpowering players, or players with BLINDING speed. What they have are players with SKILL and high soccer IQ. If you want to see a game with CONSTANT scoring, my suggestion is stick to sports like BASKETBALL who have a 24 second shot clock. And EVEB in that sport the USA is failing. Look at the FIBA world championships and how the USA plays there. No team game, no passing, just clear out and see INDIVIDUALS score. We here in the USA need to learn what team games and passing is all about. And that you DON'T need to be a GIANT or the FLASH to be a great player. You just need skill and the ability to THINK. Spain will win in 2014 I have no doubt about that.

  1. Denis Granado
    commented on: July 10, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
    Oh and Gordon, Luis only needs one fact to prove his point......SPAIN.... who have TWO EURO titles and are current WORLD champions. HE KNOWS THE GAME!!!!

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 10, 2012 at 8:43 p.m.
    Denis - I never commented on Spain - you may want to re-read the posts before you comment. Luis never played the game and is a daddy coach so if that is where you go for your soccer knowledge or if that is the qualifications of someone you think 'knows the game' then I can only hope you too are not coaching our youth anywhere.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 11, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
    Dennis, Gordon is a college soccer coach. Maybe this is why Usa can not develpp top players. Even if he did not comment on Spain his past ppsts state the same. He strongly beleives that if athletes like Lebron and Barkley chose soccer first we would have the best soccer team in the world. He is another one of too many american that beleive tht sped and strength will beat skill and smarts all the time. He is what is wrong with spccer in Usa. He will only ppst omments on this blog to attack me and never has anything real to say or contribte. Yes I am a Parent Coach. My son is the top 99' player in Region 2 so far. It is a shame that he might have to play for an idiot that will kill his growth as a player in cpllege like Gordon. Lets hope some real coaches get hired and not these nediocre run and gun , lets pick the fastest and strongest, like the English do morons . Gordon, why dpnt yo give an opinipn without involving youre hate for me and Hispanics in general and lets se what an educated excollege player and now coach has to say about the game?

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 11, 2012 at 7:06 p.m.
    Denis - Luis is a proven liar - he lies about everything - I don't believe speed and strength will beat skill and smarts - he even lies about that. I believe the US needs to get the best athletes regardless of race, period. Luis is a race-baiter and a victim that lies constantly. Luis is the REAL problem with soccer in the US - a foreign coach that has stated publicly that 'the US knows very little about soccer' and that the selection process is biased against hispanics - he cries all the time and preaches this mentality to his teams creating more victims - all he knows is excuses and all he thinks is that simply by virtue of his nationality he knows more about soccer than anyone in the US - THIS IS A PROBLEM and I will address it when I can. Luis' hope is that the US MNT be 100% Mexican American - HE IS THE RACIST. Bottom line - Luis never played the game and has publicly stated how little he thinks of improving his knowledge of the game - 'I only get certified if I need' and he is in charge of young people!!

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 11, 2012 at 11:32 p.m.
    You see Dennis, Gordon has nothing to say and is only focused on me. Its really wierd. I think he might be gay as well. Grdon, what is youre defnition of top athlet in Usa? Some examples please. O you think Usa can get bettr with picking the smartest most skilled players and win a word cup without necessarily picking "the best athetes"? Does Spain have the best ppsszibpe athltes to ur standards on its soccer team? Dont you think Gasol would ake a better goalie than Casillas? Afterall you have stated that Barkley would ave made the best goalie in the world. Rumors ar that this years Olympics has Spain rated as good as Usa in BASKETBALL. Does this mean, according to you, that Spain just has mor top athletes tan Usa does? Come on Cllege Soccer Coach give us some intelligent feedback.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 12, 2012 at 1:56 a.m.
    Denis - I no longer respond to Luis because he is a proven liar and hopefully his homophobic, racist post will suffice for you to now see him clearly for what he truly is..

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 12, 2012 at 9:25 a.m.
    Gordon, give it a rest brother. You look stupid and obsessed. Most people here see ir that way. Very few agree with ur rants about me.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 12, 2012 at 1:36 p.m.
    Denis - more lies from Luis - several other posters have chimed in about Luis in the past and I was even warned about his race-baiting. I just hope more youth coaches do not have such a lowly view of America and the white soccer player and the US coaching capabilities and do not preach victim hood and make excuses when their son does not make a particular team and I hope you realize your place of birth does not immediately make you more knowledgeable about the game and I do hope you, if you are a youth coach, coach and live your life with honor and character and not lead your life based on deceit.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 12, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
    I was born here stupid. Many more have told you to give it a rest. You want to keep count?? I dont think low of the white player. I just feel it is not yet part of their overall culture like it is with Hispanics. Am I wrong? Give it a rest. I am not into the same sex. sorry.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 12, 2012 at 5:17 p.m.
    Denis - I did not know Luis was homophobic. I knew he hates white people and black people and anyone ahead of him in the soccer community but this is new. Sorry you have to read his bigotry. Perhaps one day Luis will be happy if the entire US MNT is Mexican American and not gay and, of course, includes his son.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 13, 2012 at 8:24 a.m.
    Dennis, the same way Goron came to the conclusion that I hate gay people, is the same ignorant way he came to the conclusion that I hate black people and white people. Its pretty sad and pathetic how ignorant a college grad and coach chooses to be.

  1. Gordon Hayes
    commented on: July 13, 2012 at 4:18 p.m.
    Denis - you see Luis never had the courage to go to college so he has trouble with simple concepts - when he says he is not gay as a response and criticism of me, educated people can infer a true meaning just as his comments, although without basis and fact and truth and honesty, infer his belief in the inferiority of the white and black or any race or nationality soccer player compared to the Hispanic and especially Mexican American player. Wonder if Luis has ever written a post congratulating a white player on his success - I saw nothing from him on the recent article about Will Bruin.....hmmm.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 13, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.
    You're obsession over me brings me to that conclusion. Black people are superior at basketball for the same reasons Hispanics are at Soccer, cultural passion that is an important piece of their way of life. Will Bruin who?????

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 13, 2012 at 5:54 p.m.
    I also believe you're a crackhead. What does that make me??


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