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Posts Tagged ‘Aragones

Viva la Espana

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Gary Linekar once said, ‘ football is a game of 90 minutes with two teams on either side trying to outscore one another… and in the end the Germans always win.’

In Euro 2008, the England striker of yore was proved wrong.

After 90 minutes at the Ernst Happel Stadium, it was the Spaniards and not the Germans who were left standing after a display of exhilarating possession football that wowed the world, not just in the final but throughout the tournament.

It was the perfect cap to what has been one of the most engrossing tournaments in memory. High in quality, high in drama, the Euros have proved to be one of those watershed tournaments that you gauge all future ones by. Small wonder it did so without the over-hyped English.

Present were all elements to transcend the tournament into greatness. There was the early vanquishing of a giant (France), the mesmerizing genius of the prodigy (Dutch), the surprise package (Russia) and the dark horse (Croatia). There was also the perennial always-there (Germany) and the pondering Cyclops (Italy/Luca Toni?). Not to forget the fairytale run (Turkey).

But most importantly, there was drama of the like hardly replicated in international tournaments. Teams came back from the death, they jabbed at each other like two boxers of equal dexterity and the best part of it was that they did it while playing good, tactical football. Kudos to the coaches for that.

But Spain is what this tournament was about. Perennial under-achievers, the Spanish had in their possession (finally) a generation of players who did not crack when it came to the big time.

Much was made of coach Luis Aragones’ policy of not bringing in Raul, of employing the crafty Cesc Fabregas as a substitute, of repeatedly pulling off Fernando Torres or even bringing such unheralded lights such as Dani Guiza or Santi Carzola.

But the man who once labeled Theirry Henry a form of colored excrement has perhaps finally lived that down. History will remember the brash Aragones as the man who finally delivered Spain a crown they had deserved much more than the once they had won it in 1964.

And did Spain deserve it. They played a brand of football that wooed you from the beginning. The beguiling passing of their central midfielders, the blinding pace of Fernando Torres, the nifty work of David Villa, the surging runs of Sergio Ramos all facets that made this tournament into a watchable venture for many fans whose teams either hadn’t made it or exited early.

With Spain’s lifting of the Henri Delauney trophy a nation of Catalans, Basques and other elements united into one if only for a while.

But in the end football was the real winner.

*******
AWARDS

Best Team: Spain
Worst Team: France
Most Boring Team: Italy
Hitman: David Villa, Lukas Podolski (both scored all their goals in the group stages)
Couldn’t hit the side of a barn door: Luca Toni & Mario Gomez
Nearly man: Michael Ballack that’s a Euro final, a World Cup final and two Champions League final all lost. Maybe there is truth in numbers. Ballack wears 13.
Candle in the dark: Arshavin of Russia, who shone so precociously in two games.
Best coach: Slaven Bilic, Fatih Terim
Fairytale run: Turkey

Written by quazi zulquarnain

April 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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