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Back of the Net
The Back of the Net team report on Croatia 0-1 Spain
Spain scored a late winner to beat Croatia and finish top of Group C, but the win was overshadowed by the news that the European and World Champions are no longer any good.
The Spanish moved on to seven points, booking their place in the quarter-finals and extending their unbeaten run to 18 competitive matches as they attempt to retain their European crown and establish themselves as one of football’s most decorated teams.
But there was some tough news for coach Vicente Del Bosque to swallow just minutes after the final whistle, as TV pundits revealed that his team aren’t really very good.
“I think you have to say that on the basis of this performance, taken in baffling isolation, Spain aren’t a very good football team,” no-time World Cup winner Alan Pardew explained in the BBC studio.
“I for one don’t think it’s a lamentably fatuous conclusion to draw that England would beat Spain if they played in exactly the same manner.”
"Well if we can't please Pards, what's the point in carrying on...?"
Pardew’s comments were a measure of the sea-change that had taken place amongst the pundits. Alan Hansen had started the evening describing Spain as ‘simply the best’ but by half-time was referring to them as ‘very, very poor’ and after the final whistle ‘chorizo scoffing yawn-mongers’.
Even the commentary team neglected to show the expected respect for Spain after their uncharacteristically dreary performance and Jesus Navas’ winner was greeted with hoots of derision and a series of increasingly risqué Jesus jokes.
Gary Lineker ruthlessly tore into the Spanish during the post-match analysis, performing a well-executed impression of Fernando Torres eating some Manchego cheese and repeatedly referring to Andrés Iniesta as ‘Biniesta’ – one of the gravest insults imaginable for a Spaniard.
Spain’s rapid decline will surely come as a big relief to England boss Roy Hodgson. England may face Spain in the quarter-finals should they progress from Group D but it is now clear that the Three Lions would be able to sweep Spain aside with ease.
Editor's note: this isn't a serious accusation and all quotes are fictionalised. But you knew that, because you're not stupid.
More match reports from Back of the Net:ITA 2-0 IRL: Italy live to use another clichéPOR 2-1 HOL: Things starting to look bad for Dutch, admits Van MarwijkGRE 1-0 RUS: UEFA hope Greece forget to claim their quarter-final slotPOL 0-1 CZE: Polish celebratory vodka repurposed as misery vodkaSWE 2-3 ENG: Ice-cool England dispatch Sweden with ruthless efficiency...
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