Thursday, July 08, 2010

Spanish Lessons

"This is dull. I hope this doesn't go to extra-time," said the Englishman just before Puyol scored. "That was boring," agreed the Ukrainian when the final whistle went. But if the game lacked the crash, bang, wallop of Germany's previous two wins that was mainly because Spain did to them what they had done to England: made it seem as if the two teams were playing entirely different sports. As the Guardian's Raphael Honigstein tweeted, "Spain were absolutely brilliant in midfield, a pleasure to watch. If you find that boring, you don't understand football."

Xavi completed ninety-two accurate passes out of one hundred and six attempts - an astonishing performance in a World Cup Semi-Final. If Lampard, Barry and Gerrard had been capable of strangling the life from the German midfield, would England fans have called them boring? Probably. It would have taken about five minutes of possession football for the first shouts of "Get it up the pitch, man!" or "Have a dig."

The English problem isn't the weight of expectation, the lack of a winter break, or the number of foreigners in the Premier League. It's the way we still insist on playing the game.


TeeTotallyNot said...

I have to admit that at stretches yesterday, I found myself marvelling at the beauty of their passing, rather than cursing the lack of accuracy from our boys. However, while I wouldn't call it boring, the Spanish game could do with a bit of...zing.. at times. And they did speed it up a bit in the second half. Had it not been us they (out)played last night, I would have orders a bucket of Sangria and enjoyed :D

Michael said...

Yep, the first half could have been a bit more action packed, but I got the impression Spain were only as good as they needed to be. Bloke at work thought Germany sat back and let Spain play. I tried to explain but he supports Aston Villa...