On Sunday night the superlatives were flowing almost as regularly as the phenomenal passes by the exquisite Spanish. But how they had made us wait. It dawned on me in the final quarter of the match that this European triumph by Spain was almost the opposite way around to their 2008 victory. Back then the Spanish were irresistible to watch but a little disappointing in the final itself. That certainly couldn’t be said of Sunday’s spectacle. While after a very unspectacular tournament the Spanish pulled out all the stops. This comes from someone who wanted to believe the Spanish had peaked, without the strikers would prove short of goals and would have liked to have seen Italy win the final.
However, something told me if I expected that I would be disappointed, it was Italy who peaked against the German’s in the semi-final. Spain could have proved to be one of the very great teams who can pick off teams at will. Some thought that only Brazil of 1970 could be considered that good, with the exception of a few Champions League winners. Few though, have built a dynasty as Spain has. A week ago all the talk was how England had been given a lesson on how we need to play; many critical pundits suggested ‘we are miles behind Italy on a football pitch’. Indeed we are; they still had another gear against the much fancied Germany to look even more impressive.When most of the talk was about the ‘pass master’, Andrea Pirlo, I had a sneaky feeling that if a team can be centred around a player of his stature then England might still have some future hope. Perhaps, we could be looking towards a Jack Wiltshire as our future outlet along those lines. Playing for Arsenal one of the few clubs who concentrate coaching on ability in possession and the great passing game. He could well become that sort of player. That would prove great news for both club and country. However, when seeing how ineffective the previously magnificent Pirlo was. It showed we are not miles away from winning a major tournament, we are light years behind. I now feel we are at least a generation away, unless something radical happens. Sorry to burst any optimistic bubbles. For now though, we have Spain’s Galacticos to admire from afar as we probably used to do with the total-footballing Dutch and of course the Brazilian’s. At least it wasn’t the German machine, but the Spanish seem to have mastered something some of the other great entertainers never did, the will to win. A lot of star gazing youngsters this side of the English Channel should take heed. It takes more to make a footballer than the ability to cross like David Beckham. It also requires more for a team to be successful than just goals and flair, look at the work rate. It’s not enough just to be good; work rate is by far the reason for Spain’s great success, not a bad lesson to learn.