Spain won’t win the Euro.
1. No David Villa
David Villa was an extremely important element in the Spanish title-winning teams. He was the top scorer in Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, and has scored as many goals for Spain under Vicente del Bosque (33) as his 3 nearest rivals combined (Silva 13, Torres & Alonso 10).
Besides, without him and his vertical movement Spain are a bit flat, dull, unsurprising. Fernando Torres might be on the way back to his best form, but he is no Villa.
2. No Carles Puyol
The defender is a rock for Spain, and he has added a lot of composure and drive to the squad. Without him, Gerard Piqué is a different player – more clumsy and less confident. He also had a bad season, and his apparent bad relationship with Sergio Ramos might not allow him to form as strong a partnership as he had with Carles Puyol.
3. No peace
The Real Madrid-Barcelona rivalry was on the back-burner in 2008 and 2010, but that was an exception to the rule. This rivalry has always darkened the Spanish dressing room, and it could creep up again in Ukraine and Poland because of the recent clashes between the clubs.
4. No energy
Because of tournaments or stupid summer-friendly games, Spanish players did not have a decent summer rest for four seasons in a row. Barcelona have shown many signs of fatigue during this season, and to a lesser extent – so did Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid. Coincidentally, most of the Spanish national team players come from these three clubs, and these players were all instrumental in their respective clubs’ important moments of the season. The players are knackered and it’s proven by Raymond Verheijen’s research. Spain will be affected by it.
5. No balance
Spain have the best midfield in the world. Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc are the pilots of the spaceship named Barcelona, while David Silva was important in Manchester City’s title campaign. Xabi Alonso is the general of Real Madrid’s midfield, Jesus Navas is a dangerous creative force in La Liga, and Juan Mata is champion of Europe.
However, this midfield lacks the balance that Spain used to have. Xabi and Busquets are too similar and step on each other’s feet. Xavi is way too forward and does not get involved as much as he wants in the build up. Iniesta is not a winger and too much of a passer himself. Cesc is injured, Silva had a worrying dip of form and Navas & Mata never really found their feet in the international scene.
6. No hunger, more pressure
Spain’s squad for Euro 2012 have more than 990 caps between them – more than any other team in the tournament. They are all professionals and have lots of experience, however one must wonder if they still have the same drive that led them to win these historic titles for their country.
Besides, it seems that the Spanish government is not helping to reduce the pressure – Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy told the players ”in these difficult times, you can bring happiness to the people who need it”.
7. No element of surprise
Spain were studied by their rivals for 4 years now, and can no longer surprise them. That’s exactly why Spain have won only one of the last seven friendly games in which they have conceded a goal – all of which were played against “big teams” such as England, Italy, Portugal and the like. The big teams have basically closed the gap.
8. No precedent
You know why no team has won two Euros and a world cup in a row? Because it’s bloody hard, that’s why!
Spain are still favorites and still brilliant – they just might do it, and this post will be thrown to the bin – but no team has done this before. To be honest, Spain are good, but not THAT good.
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