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Despite some tingly moments in Monday night’s 2-0 win over Honduras, the fountains of Spain remained unmolested and its car horns went untooted when the final whistle blew.
It’s the surest of sign that suffering Spain is full of some very unhappy campers, indeed.
This maudlin malaise is reflected in Tuesday’s sporting press which is in full brooding mode. “They weren’t that bad, but they weren’t that good” sniffed Barcelona-based Sport, a paper that enjoyed the smug knowledge that their new toy, David Villa, was one of the few positives from the World Cup encounter.
AS sum up the general sensation in Spain that La Selección is still lacking a certain footballing finesse and missing far too many chances to make Friday’s match against Chile a comfortable one.
“We won (but it doesn’t look like Spain)” says Tuesday’s headline with editor, Alfredo Relaño, mixing metaphors while complaining that he “didn’t like anything about the game...the line-up was like a dog with a thousand leashes that mixed differing tactics.”
“Confusion and bipolarity” was the less-than-impressed assessment in the paper’s match report.
There has been strong criticism of Jesús Navas and his iffy delivery - a little harsh in LLL’s humble opinion - but that is nothing compared to the battering received by poor old, not-even-bought-a-copy-of-Sporting-Life-nevermind-at-the-races Fernando Torres who is forehead branded with a rare zero in the AS match ratings due to his Honduran game from hell.
Villa and Torres together are like “ice cream and a sickly cake,” was the response from the normally insanely enthusiastic Tomás Roncero who argues that the pair simply cannot play together - something that Barcelona seem to disagree with, for starters, considering there are rumours of a bid for the Liverpool man.
Torres does get some sympathy from former Madrid manager, Bernd Schuster, who writes in Marca that the forward is still recovering from his spell on the sidelines and “is lacking those small details that return after an injury after 10 to 12 matches.” Not great news in a tournament which has just five potential games left for La Furia Roja.
Marca’s mood is a similar one to the rest of Spain. Vicente Del Bosque’s men “mixed brilliant moments with worrying aspects,” opined Santiago Segurola. His colleague, Roberto Palomar, was less kind and grumbled that Spain were “the world champions in missing chances.”
“It was like watching a heavyweight boxer chasing a featherweight all around the ring trying to whack him with a knockout punch,” complains Palomar who mocks the “500 bad centres” from Navas and “the 200 shots” from Torres.
The paper’s increasingly entertaining referee, Rafa Guerrero, is much more optimistic, though. And it’s not surprising considering Spain would be sitting at the top of their group with six points and a goal difference of plus five if the Marca man ruled the footballing world.
Rafa already feels that La Selección would have beaten the Swiss 1-0 had the game been officiated to his famously high standards. And that would have been topped off by a 4-0 victory over Honduras with two more penalties if it weren’t for the pesky ref who the retired Rafa said wasn’t up to the job even before the match had begun, on the general grounds that he came from Japan.
“The performance of Nishimura proves that in this World Cup, Spain is clearly being prejudiced,” rants Rafa.
The mood from Madrid to Marbella is likely to fluctuate between optimism and misery over the next four days. If Chile play at their best and Spain continue on their path of profligacy, then La Selección could be in some trouble, with Switzerland expected to beat Honduras.
But if just one or two more of those 47 chances being created per game go in - and FIFA give the side a referee that Rafa approves of - then Del Bosque’s boys should squeeze through to the infamous ‘octavos’, the round still feared by all supporters in Spain.
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I have to admit feeling similar about the match. Spain showed their tremendous potential against Honduras, but it was laced with a lack of refinement not usually seen from the Red Fury. Almost as if the side are not in form. A team funk? I hope not. Still, it was a solid victory. I only wish it had been 8-0 (heh).
Spain lacks 'frescura' (freshness?.
In a sense it looks as if the whole team is knackered, save for Navas' sterile running down the wing.
Mind you, this terrible football might work, if the blimming ball goes in!
Tweak the tactics a touch.. You dont need Sergio Biscuits in that lineup. I would be bold, play xavi a little deeper and put cesc in that more advanced attackin mid position. You shouldnt force Xavi further up the pitch because you feel he cant play next to Xabi Alonso. He can nick the ball away and makes different forward thinking passes to xabi alonso.
A midfield three of Xabi deepest, Xavi hovering just in front of the centre circle and Cesc playing closer to the strikers would certainly create a lot of chances. Finishing those chances off is a whole different story however
Spain play a bit like Portugal. snappy passing, crisp finishing, and lots of goals. but not against Honduras. Like quoted in LLL, it just wasn't Spain out there. We can already predict that Spain will advance to 2nd round, but their encounter with Chile may not be as pretty as we think.
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