Euro 2012 – Spain Reign Again

Yet another tournament, yet another win. Spain successfully defended their European Championship title whilst defending critics aiming boring Spain accusations at them. But this isn’t just about winning mere football matches and tournaments, this is all about a philosophy.

The tika taka style of football displayed by the Spanish team over the last 6 years fits perfectly into the Spanish lifestyle. From taking Siesta’s to Tapas we associate with Spain, the tika taka brand can now be added. Just as France showed previously, overhauling old ways and modernising the philosophy of football can lead to success. France modernised their football and their philosophy with centres such as Clairefontaine. They went on to win the World Cup and European Championships too.

Possession football is now king.

Spain demonstrate that perfectly. Keeping the ball, prodding, passing, looking, patient. When you have the ball, you can’t concede a goal. This has been built into the way they play. From making runs and making yourself available for a pass to closing down in packs, pressing high up the pitch to win the ball back. This is modern football. Yes they do possess some of the best players in World football, this is their golden generation, but look at what they’re doing; seizing their opportunity. They were the perennial underachievers, a squad full of talented footballers, underachieving. But, they changed, they moved forward, boldly. England have yet to realise that.

England have as usual been talking, talking and talking. There’s nothing better that the Football Association does than talk. English national football has been stuck in the dark ages and past glories for far too long. We’ve seen the golden generation of English footballers come and go. The current manager Roy Hodgson, is yet another dinosaur of the “old” English way. A rigid formation, inability to keep the ball, always ready to panic and hoof it up to the big man. Looking to minimise damage rather than cause it. Lose on penalties.

The last true visionary England manager was perhaps Glenn Hoddle. Despite his beliefs he was perhaps the most modern thinking out of a group of old-fashioned traditional thinkers. He tried to instil a direct attacking style. Fluidly changing from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 as and when needed, adapting to situations. This is when football itself was still dependant on 4-4-2, where pundits were debating whether a diamond or a flat four was better. Football has since moved on from then.

All Too Familiar A Story…

Previous to Hoddle, Venables had done well reaching the Semi finals on home turf during Euro 96, where again England fell to penalties, and football failed to “come home”. Hoddle was the ideal candidate to move England forward, bringing new tactics and formations, he wasn’t a yes man, dropping Michael Owen to the under 21s and being critical of David Beckham’s ability. That perhaps went against him when the controversy started, the FA then as usual, had no spine and sacked him. Hoddle’s record and win percentages speak for themselves. He was the right man for the right job at maybe the right time, but sacked all for the wrong reasons.

England haven’t moved on since 66, that was the highest of England’s achievements, and until they modernise their coaching and instil  a modern philosophy of football, that could well be their only achievement for a very long time. The time for change is now. England’s golden generation have come and gone, they were wasted. Don’t let the new generation suffer the same fate and don’t let the fans keep suffering.