The Soccer Euro 2012 win made history for Spain, making them the first nation to ever consecutively win the Euro tournament (2008), the World Cup (2010) and the Euro tournament (2012) again. Spain was the heavy favorite coming into the competition and they were looking to retain the title they won four years prior. While their victory in the final was exciting and inspiring, I couldn’t say that about their previous games. I am not alone in this, before the final game many were calling Spain’s style of play boring.
Spain had the highest % of ball possession than any other team in the tournament. Spain had the ball an average of 68% in all their games yet managed only an average of 1.3 goals per game. This meant that for the majority of the 90-minute games, Spain would pass the ball in the middle of the field, keeping possession but choosing not to attack. Also out of their 6 games in the Euro, their coach played 4 of those games with no attackers. That sends a clear message that possession is more important to this team than trying to score. While keeping possession isn’t an easy task for any professional team, it isn’t very entertaining either. Some may argue that they scored 4 goals in two games, but one game was against the low ranked Ireland and the second was against a 10 man Italian team.
My problem is that Spain is better than this, they have some of the best attackers in the world but for most of the tournament, they were nothing more than benchwarmers. Also the best team in the world tends to get emulated by others in order to find success, so my worry is that more teams will chose to pass more than attack. As a huge soccer fan living in the United States, it looks like it might get harder to convince others of the sport’s excitement.