Spain re-invented football
This is the greatest football team on the planet. By winning the European Cup final four goals to nothing against a solid Italian side, Spain became the first country to defend the European Championships and the first to win it by more than three goals in the final.
The first nation in the world to win three major titles in a row in the history of world soccer, they have won 19 competitive games without losing and conceded only two goals. They have gone over a thousand minutes of competition play without conceding a goal and are by far, like them or loathe them, the most attractive team in the world. They have re-invented football.
Pele's Brazil came up with "Samba football" in the late ‘50s and ‘60s and it reached its pinnacle in 1970, when they practically "waltzed" past the world to be crowned three-time World Cup champions. Ever since, there has been some German, Italian and Argentine domination of world soccer but no nation has "re-charted" world football like this current Spanish team.
Spain’s football is now filled with total domination of ball possession against any opponent they meet. They are able to do this because they are so precise in their passing around of the ball and they couple it with very concise, timed and intelligent movements off the ball that make it possible to dominate the opponents and keep them from playing.
One major change they have brought to football is football without a central striker. Who would have thought it possible, before now, that any team would dare take to the pitch in a major first class tournament final without a point striker and win by four goals.
Many have written and asked me, "why do they and can they play this way"? Look at it this way: when Spain play opponents these days, the opponents pack their central defense area and that is where the Spanish striker is supposed to operate out of. By playing an offensive midfielder like Fabregas in that position, a player who does not stay fixed there but comes into that area as a midfielder, the Spanish have a constantly packed midfield of ball jogglers, who take turns running into this central area, first horizontally then vertically. Not only are the opposing central defenders always late or lost with or without the ball, they keep asking themselves negative questions.
Another major re-invention they brought to soccer is they have taken their "tiki taka" indoor five-a-side football to the outdoor soccer pitches.
This is the first country in the world to amalgamate possession football with pressing football.
Every player when they are playing at their best, like they did when they took on the Italians in the final, participates in defending and attacking in a way that always narrows the options opponents have to play.
Their general motto is; pass the ball and immediately offer an option to the teammate. If he plays you it’s good. If he doesn't? You just distracted away other opponents to offer more playing options to the colleague and lessen the opposition.
Critics will disagree and have called them 'boring'. Well, if they are boring, what would we call the champions league winning team of Chelsea that we all hailed and praised for their achievement?
If they look boring to some, could it just be because their opponents leave them no option but just pass the ball around constantly retreating from the jam packed defenses till they find loopholes to score?
Why on earth should they change a formula that has helped them win everything 'winnable' in the last six years, be it at club or national team level?
The Dutch came up in the ‘70s with their "total football". In reality, if total football means every player can play or take up functions that are not theirs with ease, then "real total football" is now being played by Spain.
They have not only re-invented football but have now ushered in the type of football the world will measure up to in years to come.
Congratulations ' la Roja'.