World Cup 2014 up next for all-conquering Spain

By thrashing Italy 4-0 in Sunday's Euro 2012 final in Kiev, Spain staked a claim to the title of the greatest international team of all time.

Not even Zinedine Zidane's France, or West Germany's great team of the mid-1970s, had ever successfully defended the European Championship before.

Not even the many famous Brazil teams, or four-time world champions Italy, or Johan Cruyff's Holland, had ever won back-to-back continental titles with a World Cup in between.

A bewitching alliance of technical artistry, intuitive movement and metronomic passing, Spain have refocused perceptions of what it takes to succeed in the international game.

In the light of the fate that befell Italy, it seems absurd that Spain could have been criticised for the quality of their football in the days preceding the decider.

Spain replied to their critics in the most emphatic way possible at Kiev's Olympic Stadium, to leave coach Vicente del Bosque in no doubt as to the validity of their approach.

"The way that the national team is going is clear," he said.

"And we can't only think about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but afterwards as well. I think the way is clear."

Having agreed to a contract extension prior to the tournament that will keep him at the helm until 2014, Del Bosque can now turn his thoughts to the qualifying campaign for the next World Cup.

Spain have friendlies against Puerto Rico and Saudi Arabia before the qualifiers begin with a trip to Georgia on September 11.

France, beaten 2-0 by Spain in the quarter-finals, will provide the sternest opposition in Group I, but with Laurent Blanc having walked away from his post as coach, Les Bleus are now a rudderless ship.

The first coach to have won the World Cup, the European Championship and the Champions League, Del Bosque faces the awkward task of trying to improve one of the most successful sides in the game's history.

Spain's lauded passing style is unlikely to change, at least in the short-term, but he may decide that the team requires an injection of dynamism.

La Roja had no trouble dominating games at Euro 2012, but the occasionally dreary nature of their football prompted accusations that their famous 'tiki-taka' style had become sterile, and even boring.

The gamble of using Cesc Fabregas as an unorthodox 'false nine' centre-forward paid off in spectacular fashion, and the 61-year-old coach must now decide whether to pursue the experiment.

It could spell bad news for Fernando Torres, the first man to score in two Euro finals, as well as Fernando Llorente, who did not make it onto the pitch for a single minute in Poland and Ukraine.

David Villa, however, will expect to return to the side when he recovers from the broken leg that kept him out of the tournament.

The configuration of the midfield requires less deliberation, but the great men of Spain's golden era will not be around forever.

Xavi will be 34 at the next World Cup, Andres Iniesta 30 and Xabi Alonso 32, and Del Bosque will one day have to think about what Spain will do -- and how they will play -- when they are gone.

Nonetheless, the new face of the national side is already emerging.

Jordi Alba, 23, was Euro 2012's outstanding left-back, and Gerard Pique (25) and Sergio Ramos (26) can look forward to further opportunities to develop their centre-back partnership now that Carles Puyol has entered his 35th year.

Athletic Bilbao pair Javi Martinez (23) and Iker Muniain (19) and Barcelona's Thiago Alcantara (21), meanwhile, will all hope to play a part in the team's evolution as well.

It is an uncomfortable thought for their rivals, but Spain's pool of talent remains as deep as ever and their attention will quickly turn to the quest to complete an extraordinary quadruple at the next World Cup.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options