La Roja dominate world football today. They can forget their 44 years without a trophy
Spain are where nobody has ever been. Just the statistics would be overwhelming,but on Sunday night in Kiev,the how of making history was as important as how much history the Spanish made. It is the first nation to win three major tournaments in a row,the first to retain the Henri Delaunay trophy,the first to score three-plus goals in a Euro final. In the end,La Roja put style,symmetry,symbolism and success in one place,consigning accusations of boring to the dustbin by demolishing the Azzurri.
There are three heartening takeaways from Euro 2012. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque demonstrated a team will win when it has absolute faith in what it is as strategy,its difficult to imagine another side enforcing its total domination of a match playing a False No. 9 instead of a regular striker. For world football,its revolutionary. Second,Italy will no longer be derided for defensive,negative football. Mario Balotelli,courtesy of Andrea Pirlo,proved Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has discarded the Azzurris traditional catenaccio (the wall). Third,hosts Poland and Ukraine pulled it off,making UEFA boss Michel Platinis vision of Euro 2020 held across the continent look doable.
Comparable now only to the great Brazilian sides of old,La Rojas dominion over world football today is so complete that the long 44 years Spain went without a trophy from 1964 to 2008 picking up the tag of chokers in the 1990s,risk being forgotten. But captain Iker Casillas,with his record-setting 100th international win on Sunday,was around even 10 years ago. He remembers the heartbreaks well enough to keep the hunger alive beyond this reign of Spain.