The giants of Spain — Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Casillas et al. The Azzurris were left to lick their wounds on Sunday night by the best team in the world. Some said, “They were the best ever.”
Winning three major trophies back to back and now eyeing World Cup in 2014, Spain’s complete blend of class and prowess won million hearts on Sunday. The last 10 minutes of the game were on and Italy were exhausted — no ball, no time and two goals to chase. Totally outclassed by the Reds, they conceded two more as the last nail was hammered on the Italian coffin.
Now look at perhaps the all-time greatest football team — the great Brazilians of Pelé, Tostao, Jairvinho, Rivelino and all. Is the current Spanish side comparable to the Brazilian team that won the 1970 World Cup? It is fact that Spain’s line-up is the best ever in their history that they can boast of. However, Spain perhaps has some miles to go before reaching the pinnacle of Pelé’s side and dominate world football like they had done once.
Currently going without rivals, without teams of their quality, Spain is enjoying a home run. Playing without a striker and without their main man Carles Puyol, they deserved the best of kudos and so they got it. Left Back Jordi Alba deserves a worthy mention. His spectacular dash clearly underlined the reason why Barcelona signed him for 14 million euros.
After Cristiano Ronaldo was left sulking over his performance in their last encounter and after a brilliant Balotelli took Italy to the final, some were wallowing in pleasure and somewhere tears flooded groups of heart-broken fans. It is the rule of the beautiful game where perhaps the same man breaks hearts and wins hearts.
In his column Diego Maradona wrote: “[Spain] demonstrated clearly that they are not only the best team in the world but also that they might well be the best team ever to play football.
“No one player can defeat this Spanish machine. Cristiano Ronaldo tried with Portugal, and the Spanish put a muzzle on him.
“[Andrea] Pirlo tried and the Spanish crowded him with four players sometimes.”
He also added: “Some of the pearls of this tournament came from individual champions.”
The Seleccao One-Man-Army spearheaded by Ronaldo, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, veteran Andriy Shevchenko and of course Italian giant Andrea Pirlo stood out as single champions and were epitome of exceptional skill who would light the way for the later generations to come. But Spain showed what it is to play as a team and win as a team.
Spain surely could not be called invincible at this Euro since there were times when it was evident that they could be beaten, especially in their league stalemate with Italy when they drew 1-1 and later their 1-0 victories over minnows such as Ukraine.
They may be the best at the moment with their extraordinary feat, but it would be overestimating the La Roja to call them to have the best legs to have touched a football. Two years from now and all eyes shall be on this side. Can they retain their title?