I think the two best teams got to the final, and the best team got the trophy.
This is the best thing that could have happened to soccer in our country. Perhaps more people will at least begin to appreciate what dominating possession can do. Unfortunately there are still some who are drawing poor conclusions.
Some Misguided Conclusions
1) Spain changed their style in the final.
2) Spain lacked attack as evidenced by the low scores.
3) Fabregas should have been a starter.
1) Spain changed their style in the final
Spain NEVER changed their style. They did not go to some plan B,C, or D. Did they dominate possession in this game? Yes. It just didn’t appear as such due to the the Dutch resorting to disruptive soccer through insidious fouling. Instead of connecting 10 – 20 passes during their attack, it was 5 – 10 and then a Dutch foul.
This was good of Holland and I don’t hate them for it. That was the tactic that optimized their chances for success. And it almost payed off. It’s pick your poison with teams that possess far better than you.
- Either you play defensive and try to counter with varying degree (Switzerland, Honduras, Portugal, Paraguay, Germany).
- Disrespect them by pressuring high and attacking (Chile)
- Or do what Holland did – a combination of both with added disruption.
You might steal a win here or there with any of the 3 options, but the team that commands the ball will win the majority of the time.
2) Spain Lacked Attack as Evidenced by Low Scores
Spain did not score an overwhelming amount of goals not because their strikers aren’t world class, nor is it symptomatic of the possession style, but simply because it is an artifact of how most of their opponents chose to play. Barcelona, the state of the art, scores far more goals because it is league play. Here teams don’t mind being more offensive and taking chances because it’s just one game in a long season. In the World Cup, it’s win or go home so teams will not risk as much.
3) Fabregas Should Have Been a Starter
From the get go many people, specifically Americans, were crying foul that Fabregas wasn’t a starter. I think this has a lot to do with them having “EPL goggles”.
Well, who do you take out?
Xavi or Iniesta? You’re crazy! Cesc is a world class midfielder, but Xavi and Iniesta are the greatest amongst the world class. If that weren’t enough already, add to that both know each other from memory.
Busquets or Alonso? You’re crazy! These guys do most of the defensive dirty work. Putting in Cesc gives you more offensive projection but you destabilize the defense. In the final, Del Bosque threw caution to the wind and made this substitution late in the game for the win.
This was the Xavi and Iniesta show! And correctly so.
Fabregas will get his chance in 2014.
What are your thoughts?