Spain play pretty football, but is it entertaining?
All that is pretty is not necessarily entertaining.
A delicate flower, an elegant and graceful butterfly and Kate Moss are a treat for the eyes, but none of them have the power to enthral.
Spain are also a delicate flower.
Gasp. Shock. Horror. To express this is surely to blaspheme in the name of all that is holy to football, but Jesus Christ I don’t give a shit.
Hailed by many in the media as the second coming thanks to their selfish style of football in which they deny the opposition a touch, Spain have been held aloft as a shining example.
An example of what though? Have Spain now created a template of pretty keep-ball football, coupled with a steely defensive reserve by which all teams can copy? I sincerely hope not.
In order for them to be held aloft high above the rest of past and present they have to ably to demonstrate that they are better than best. Unfortunately for them they have forgotten one thing in their attempted evolution of football that the Dutch ’74 and Brazil ’82 teams didn’t and that’s entertainment.
As a spectator sport, football is not just graded on results but also by a funometer lodged deep in the heart of every fan and Spain fail to tickle this.
Ask any Brazilian which is their favourite team that represented their country at a World Cup and many will point to their trophyless team from 1982 that delighted spectators with wonderfully expressive attacking football. Very few will say the team of 1994 or 2002.
Spain on the other hand seem to revel in frustrating fans, as they delicately pass it between each other until there is no other conceivable choice but to shoot, as all other passing options have been exhausted.
In comparison, Arsenal look like a herd of bulls with red goal nets in their eyes charging through a china shop towards goal.
Admittedly they are not just demonstrating the fine art of passing, as they do have a purpose attached, but unfortunately it’s a 1000 passes away in their slow slog of a chess game.
Not that I wish to see the game split up into unimaginative quarters to try and pulse excitement into the game. Interpretation is important, but if Spain are to be considered true knights of the football realm then their game must encompass every facet of total football for want of a better name and unfortunately for them entertainment is not included.
Seemingly this has been stolen by Germany at this tournament, who have displayed wonderful attacking free-flowing football that resulted in them deservedly banging eight past England and Argentina and propelled a youthful side to the semi-finals.
Their infectious enthusiasm and lust for goals was typified by their fourth against Argentina. A wonderful goal scored on the counter-attack, setup by Mezut Ozil and masterfully finished by Miroslav Klose at a point when they didn’t need to be goal hunting and could have resorted to a pretty but boring game of keep-ball familiar to their semi-final opponents.
Spain’s defeat of Germany in the semi-final was a triumph for their own brand of passing football, but unfortunately it was a defeat for those wanting to see a pulsating final.Tags: Spain, World Cup 2010
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