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Spain, Why Do You Have to Be So Bloody Boring?

 Spain, Why Do You Have to Be So Bloody Boring?

Spain, if you’re the “Best Team In The World” according to Joachim Loew, why do you have to be so bloody boring?

Watching Spain’s 1-0 victory against Germany Wednesday, I was bored several times during the match. No, not because of the lack of goals. But because of Spain’s methodically slow tempo. Several times in the first half, they would walk around the pitch and pass the ball between themselves looking for an opportunity to spring the perfect pass. Even when they were winning and they were in Germany’s penalty box, they played keep-away instead of trying to score their second goal.

There’s no doubt that Spain has a team that possesses some of the best players in the world. And the depth that manager Bosque has in his team would make managers of other countries (Capello, anyone?) drool. And, Spain’s tactics Wednesday night were effective by continuing to pass and press Germany, looking for the opening that would give them the slight edge which would be enough to win the game. Still, I realize that Spain and its footballers are not paid to entertain but rather to win, but do they have to be so slow in their build-up?

I’m not expecting Barcelona, I mean Spain, to be as frenetic as a teenage boy in heat (i.e. which is what many Premier League clubs remind me of when they get the ball), but I do expect them to mix up their style of play now and again in the 90 minutes. Yes, there were several flashes of brilliance in this game where David Villa would hit a perfect flick-on, or Andres Iniesta would serve up the perfect pass. But, for crying out loud, give me a few minutes of continuous hang-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat onslaughts on your opponent’s goal.

I realize that Spain’s tempo is the opposite of what we see in the Premier League. But I’d honestly rather watch a rollercoaster ride of a Premier League match with plenty of highs and imperfect soccer than 90 minutes of boring artistry from Spain. After watching Spain’s semi-final victory, the word that popped into my head to best describe the Spanish team was ‘artisans.’ They excel in their profession and produce a wonderful piece of art. But that art is best enjoyed in a highlight reel rather than suffering through 90 minutes of boredom and flashes of brilliance now and again.

Judging by Spain’s performance today, I don’t hold much hope for this Sunday’s World Cup Final. The one thing that Germany failed to do Wednesday was to get in the faces of Spain and stop them from playing the game they love to control. Germany failed to take control and put Spain on the back foot. And there’s no guarantee that the Dutch crack Spain’s veneer either.

The odd thing about the two finalists in the 2010 World Cup is that neither team has played as well as we had anticipated thus far in the tournament. Both have done incredibly well to make it to the final, but neither team has played the game of their lives that we know they’re capable of. An early goal for both sides on Sunday is one of our few hopes to get both teams to play outside of their shell so we can see end-to-end action. But if that doesn’t happen, we may witness a drab game from both sides as they look for the few chances that fall their way.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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71 Responses to Spain, Why Do You Have to Be So Bloody Boring?

  1. BayVol says:

    The argument of fans wanting more “exciting” football (up and down play) along with many chances etc. is well and fine to hope for. The teams are playing to win, not to appease the soccer world and their wishes of how they think they should play.

    We all want better games, but if a team has to play a certain way to move on, so be it and if I was a fan of that side, I would want that too.

  2. Jeff says:

    Totally disagree. Possession football with expert passing amongst teammates is not boring at all for me. It was wonderful to watch at all times. Great game, great style. If you find Spain’s style boring, you should begin to question if you really love football, or just love “roller coaster rides”. I think Spain has been outstanding to watch, and am really looking forward to this final.

  3. I don’t think you can really have a go at Spain, it’s not their fault that every team just sits back against them and tries to hit them on the counter. It’s like every other team just says ‘well, we know we can’t out pass you or out play you, we’ll just try to stop you scoring and hit you on the break.
    I’m sure Spain would love it if teams came at them all guns blazing but it just doesn’t happen and you can bet your bottom dollar the Dutch will do the same.
    Germany were passed to death tonight, men against boys. What did the Germans do? What was one or two shots on target the whole game?
    They looked good against England and Argentina, basically to countries whose defences are not the best, especially when England have the slowest holding player ever in Barry and a centre back who isn’t good enough to play in the Prem let alone the England team in Upson, but tonight when they came up against a team who keep the ball well and are pretty good at the the back it was goodnight Germany, Kartik still loves you.

  4. Kevin_Amold says:

    Wow, I could not disagree more. I love the precision passing of Spain, it’s like Clockwork. Rhythmic. I didn’t watch today’s game, I listened to it, so it may have been duller than normal. We’ve seen Spain deliver beatdowns before, I wouldn’t put it past them to administer one in the final.

    I mean, they could be 2004 Greece, or 2006 Italy….

  5. dlink09 says:

    ok have you lost you’re mind gaffer..

  6. The Gaffer says:

    Sorry readers, but this type of Spain performance is not why I love the game. To see them play keep-away in their opponents penalty box was ridiculous. Pedro was awful up front for Spain and missed a glorious chance to pass it to his teammate. This was not a performance of a World champion. Yes, they did what they had to do to win, but I’d rather see them play the game as it was meant to be, which is to go out there and play and to try and score goals.

    Is Spain the new Italy?

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

    • Simno Burke says:

      I agree with you Gaffer , i was bored to tears though i normally am watching Spain as they are so good at retaining possession. Brazil were similar till they imploded and its just not all that fun to watch.

      But this was a performance of a World Champion, they easily beat a team that had put 4 past 3 other opponents. Not one for the DVD collection though.

      • The Gaffer says:

        Germany should be blamed too for not having the balls to come out and play more attacking football. They played scared. Ozil, too. They should have concentrated on what they did so well which is to be more inventive going forward. Spain, despite the hype, haven’t been good up front (Villa excepted). Torres and Pedro have been unable to score. Their midfielders have been flaccid with their attempts at goal.

        This was a huge opportunity lost by Germany today. It reminded me a lot of the USA v Ghana game where the Africans were there for the taking, but poor tactics and inhibited playing prevented the USA from winning. And the same happened to Germany against Spain.

        A very disappointing game. Based on today’s performance, I’ll be hoping that Netherlands wins on Sunday and forces Spain into actually playing soccer instead of passing the ball into boredom.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

    • Biggest load of crap I’ve ever read, Spain play the Barca way, the Arsenal way, the way i wish England would play. popping the ball round, making the other team chase it like headless chickens, probing, probing then bang, goal where the hell did that come from. Pedro was fantastic, yes he should have passed to Torres but the rest of the game he was fantastic.

      • Simon Burke says:

        Not quite the Arsenal way as this was played at a far slower pace than Arsenal play. Arsenal prefer to score goals , even at 1-0.
        Spain play their ticky tacky as a form of defense – they make you get the ball back…

        Germany had to answer the question of what happened if they conceded first (serbia doesnt count as they were a man down). It meant they had to attack and counter rely on their counters and they were found wanting (most are in this World Cup). Had England scored first or made it back to 2-2 you wonder would Germany have struggled? Argentina too would have beaten Germany I feel but for that soft opening goal they conceded.

        Its a matter of taste, I’d always prefer to watch that Holland v Uruguay semi again over the Spain Germany one today – from an excitement standpoint I like goals, chances and attacking play. Some like the methodical Spanish and more effective possession play.

      • Simon Burke says:

        Not quite the Arsenal way as this was played at a far slower pace than Arsenal play. Arsenal prefer to score goals , even at 1-0.
        Spain play their ticky tacky as a form of defense – they make you get the ball back…

        Germany had to answer the question of what happened if they conceded first (Serbia doesn’t count as they were a man down). It meant they had to attack and counter rely on their counters and they were found wanting (most are in this World Cup). Had England scored first or made it back to 2-2 you wonder would Germany have struggled? Argentina too would have beaten Germany I feel but for that soft opening goal they conceded.

        Its a matter of taste, I’d always prefer to watch that Holland v Uruguay semi again over the Spain Germany one today – from an excitement standpoint I like goals, chances and attacking play. Some like the methodical Spanish and more effective possession play.

    • hank says:

      Spain the new Italy? That’s below the belt. At no point were Spain playing 11 man defense and waiting for penalties.

      Frankly, the semi-finals and the finals of the World Cup often don’t provide the most exciting matches. There is so much on the line, and the first goal is so important, that all teams play a little conservatively. It generally takes a goal to open a game up. Yesterday we got lucky when the Netherlands produced a wonder goal early on, but not so lucky today.

      • Scott Alexander says:

        I thought this was a dreadful match but fair play to Spain. It worked. Are they the new Italy? No. Italy are known for exciting defence and being able to turn on different tactics including what you allude to in the premier league if they go down.

  7. dlink09 says:

    you don’t use silly tactics in semifinal games & especially against good side like Germans.. blame Germans for playing very defensive..

  8. Pat says:

    If you focus most of your attention on the Premier League or Champions League, then the pace most of the Euro teams play at may seem slow. The games are much more methodical, but I find the control/movement of a Spain type team much more exciting than pumping up long balls and watching John Terry wrestle Kevin Davies.

  9. JW says:

    I actually think the final will be much more entertaining because I don’t see the Dutch as a side that will give Spain as much respect as the Germans did. I mean, how many total tackles were there in this game? 10? Fouls? 5?

    The “new” Dutch have at least proven to be fiesty and willing to get stuck in– even beyond the boundaries at times. I expect more of the same on Sunday. Or at least I hope for it.

  10. manrazie says:

    You don’t know anything about football..because you’ve watched too much of EPL..Spain played passing and build-up game,if the opposition took away the ball from them then they managed to get it back quickly and build up once again..the reason why it was not really interesting because Germany can’t take the ball from them for a long time and played their part.Blame Germany for not playing their style..Spain is Spain..that was their style of playing.Seems like you’ve enjoyed EPL so much where losing ball is a common,run and get it back..lose it again..that is actually BORING…

  11. Ryan says:

    Have fun watching West Brom/Blackpool, Gaff.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Ryan, Spain is far more gifted, but have you watched West Brom or Blackpool play last season? Both were very attacking and exciting teams to watch, unlike Spain who have been skillful but have been poor up front (except for David Villa).

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  12. UpTheBlues says:

    If you think Spain is boring, and would like some entertaining, beautiful football, may I introduce you to the Dutch?

  13. Poker Rakeback says:

    This has nothing to do with the Prem, this has to do with the Germans having no balls whatsoever, They had nothing about them tonight, no balls. They didn’t come out and try to attack, they sat in and tried to counter. The moment they went a goal down is was ‘what do we do now? We are used to leading in games and using the counter’, sorry they had to do something different now and they were found wanting.
    The prem teams have balls, they come out and try to attack, well most of them anyway, not this German team though, no balls and too reliant on going a goal up and hitting teams on the break.

  14. Jeff says:

    I agree with the Gaffer. This game was boring and Spain has bored me to death in this World Cup. Don’t give me that I don’t like football if I think Spain are boring. It’s boring to see one team have the ball the whole game and just passing it back and forth to each other without creating any great chances.

    Now Spain in the Euro’s was fun to watch. Yes, they had the majority of possession in the Euro’s but they played at a much faster pace and were creating so many more chances. This Spain team tries to walk the ball into the net like Arsenal and Barca(Second half of this past season) and it’s just not that fun to watch at times.

    And yes I will blame Germany for sitting back as well. I don’t know what they were waiting for. They waited until it was too late to start throwing their bodies around. To sit there and let Spain pass the ball around without any preasure is just ridiculous.

    Anyway, for anyone to call this a good game must be a fan of Spain because it definitely wasn’t a good game. I was hoping for both teams to come out flying. I was hoping for some beautiful goals. I was hoping for some attacking football. But I didn’t get any of that. Very disappointing. I hope Holland doesn’t follow suit and comes out and takes it to Spain. Otherwise it will be another 90 minutes of drab.

  15. Jeff says:

    You know this has me thinking. Maybe it really is the opposition that is making it boring. Think about it. Spain held the majority of the possession in the Euro’s a couple of years ago and were really fun to watch. Since then teams have started to park the bus on them and the game is just boring because they just control the ball in the midfield.

    While not an Arsenal fan they were really fun to watch the season before last. But last season I thought they were really boring to watch. They held the majority of possession during games but were so slow in attack.

    Barcelona the same thing. They were fun to watch up until the second half of the season when everyone just started parking the bus on them.

    So maybe the fault really lies with these teams that want to sit back and defend for their lives. Either way, it is really frustrating and boring to watch.

    God, I can’t believe Germany came out and played like that after they were scoring goals for fun. What a disappointment. Oh well, they will only have regrets now.

  16. Doctor L says:

    The Dutch will study the Spain-Germany match and will realize that they (1) need to apply pressure in the offensive third when they lose the ball in an effort to win it back immediately and failing that (2) apply midfield pressure in order to try and disrupt the buildup.

    An early goal for either side might drag the other out of its shell

    I would expect them to treat Spain much like they did Brazil. van Bommel will be “active” (for lack of a better word) like he was v Brazil…it will be interesting to see how the match is refereed. Might get chippy, hope the ref is able to walk the line between allowing the match to get out of hand and influencing its outcome

  17. Tr1 says:

    The Gaffer and many others like him who found this game boring are so obviously Germany fans on this contest. Probably watching their side reduced to complete disposession and disfunction must get frustrating and boring after awhile. After all, you want to see your team on the ball. What the Spanish did to the Germans was amazing and totally dominant, rarely seen at this level. Gaffer et al missed a great game. I watched in a bar with a German fan and we were on the edge of our seats trying to see who would make a mistake in this intense encounter of skill. The idea of less possession and more back and forth goals may be alright for the really casual fan, but it is not what makes baseball and even football (
    NFL) as followed as they are. I will guess that if the Germans had don that to Spain, the Gaffer and company would hail how far Germans have come. Otherwise this view reflects the love for the pure kick and run premiere league football (what I mostly watch) which is as much about physical speed as skill. The German coach and players hailed Spain’s display and hoped to one day reach their level. What a game–still getting over it.

    • Tedesci (Germans) KAPUT!!! says:

      GREAT JOB SPAIN, Brilliant!!! – Oh, & how I loved watching the Germans reduced to complete “disfunction”… lol… good for them.

      Spain passed the proverbial wrench into the German machine! GREAT STUFF!!!
      I hope Suarez sticks 3 in on them on Saturday & their “disfunction” continues on thru Brazil 2014 & beyond…that would be smashing!…

  18. tonyspeed says:

    you my friend do not understand football, sad to say. two minutes of all-out onslaught and the score may have well have been 3-1 germany. spain’s manager is a brilliant brilliant man.

  19. pat Canada says:

    I guess some of you don’t appreciate the sheer quality of Spain’s game enough. Even they didn’t create a lot of scoring chances the first half, their passing is of the highest quality. I don’t think Germany were playing scared, they were just exhausted just from chasing shadows all day.

  20. cmasia says:

    Gaffer,
    For the first time ever, I think I know more about footy than you.
    First, you argue Spain played a boring game with “methodically slow tempo.”
    Did you watch any of Germany’s previous games??? They always were a counter attack side. So if I were playing them, I’d want to put them to sleep as well.
    The, in one of your comments, you prove the point.
    You say, “Germany should be blamed too for not having the balls to come out and play more attacking football. They played scared.”
    So, how can you blame Spain for playing keep away if they recognized Germany played scared.
    Gaffer, you cannot have it both ways.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Both teams failed to come out of their shell and play attacking football. It’s one thing for a team to play keep-away when you’re in your own half, but when Spain was in Germany’s penalty box, they played keep-away which is the worst type of anti-soccer to me. If you’re in the box, why not try and at least score?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • cmasia says:

        Gaffer,
        Challenge accepted.
        Recording the replyy on ESPN2 at 02:00 eastern.
        I’ll count the number of time Spain was in the box and ” did not try to score”.
        But here’s a question. In your mind, if they were in the German box, what were they trying to do?

        • The Gaffer says:

          There was a period in the second half after they had scored where they kept on playing with the ball in Germany’s penalty box for a few minutes and playing keep-away. They were trying to waste time and prevent Germany from scoring. But it was in Germany’s own penalty box!

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • Peter says:

            What a silly comment to make. They were using time-wasting techniques in the penalty box! No they weren’t, they were trying to score. What would be the point in wasting time when there was still 20-20 minutes left in the game? No point at all. This whole column is one of the worst I have ever read by you. Sorry but you’ve got it completely wrong.

            If Spain were boring what were Germany? They had about 3 shots all night and only 1 of them was any good. Even then Kroos mis-hit it. Germany just couldn’t get the ball and when they did they played one-dimensionally. They lumped it up front, they didn’t use the width and they couldn’t even supply a killer pass to Klose or Podolski. Their defence too was shoddy. No marking on Puyol when his flying header went just over. And agin no marking on him when he scored the decisive goal. Germany were boring, not Spain.

            Btw, the game itself was a great spectacle to watch.

  21. Savie says:

    When Italy play like this it is called boring…but when others play this style it is called class…Catenaccio may be boring but it works…and that is how all these small teams hung in there in this World Cup…

  22. RVPFan says:

    If Spain’s style is boring, then football is boring. Simple as that. Spain play football the way it was meant to play. I enjoy watching Spain. Spain’s style was previously played by the Dutch in the 70′s, the “Clockwork Oranje”, that was so famous that literally a team would never touch until they pick the ball from the back of the net. Spain’s style resembles the Dutch style. I love Oranje, but I can’t blame Spain for emulating Oranje. It’s the style they got from Johan Cryuff himself when he managed Barca in the 90′s. Since Spain have half Barca players, they play like Barcelona. Yes, they should have shot some balls when they had the chance, but there is never such a perfect team. This Spanish team is made to keep possession and split defense. Their mentality is to keep passing. They play beautiful football and nobody can fault them if the team don’t attack them, sitting back and looking for a chance to counter. This was really weird piece Gaffer.

  23. Nate S says:

    Gaffer, I definitely agree with your argument here. I’ve been very surprise at how few chances on goal Spain get for all the possession they have. Maybe its simply because teams know how they play, unlike in Euro 2008. It also drives me crazy that Del Bosque essentially plays three holding midfielders (Alonso, Xavi, Busquets), I think theyre too good for that. But credit to them for making it to the final, obviously, based on the results, theyve deserved it. I just hope the dutch take it to them in the final and basically do the opposite of what Germany did today.

    • Dude. says:

      its not Spains fault! its the opposing team, they sit back with 8-9 players waiting for an attack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Peter says:

      Xavi is a holding midfielder! Hahahaha! Leave the football to real fans mate.

  24. T Slominski says:

    One man’s boredom is another man’s brilliance. To each his own. Which is exactly what makes the game so great. Some like action films, others character studies. Some like 9-ball, others 14.1 continuous billiards. This game was like a novel – an exposition phase (first half) with a bit of foreshadowing, followed by the rising action phase (2nd half up to Puyol’s goal), the climax (the goal), and the finale.
    Spanish perfection.
    Thank you for eloquently expressing one preference. Mine is another.

  25. Captain Awesome says:

    My neighbor painted his house today…he’s a great painter…awesome technical skill…really fantastic brush strokes…took him 90 minutes…didn’t watch it cause even though he’s skilled and got the job done it’s really not compelling viewing.

    Which brings me to Spain…zzz zzz zzz…dominated the game and won by 1. Barely beat Paraguay in another snooze fest.

    The Blue Sweater from Germany should be fired for his lack of half-time adjustments. How could you watch that first half and come out the second with the same 11 and same tactics? Inept.

  26. Dude. says:

    WOW! being Spanish, this really hurts! This is the FIRST time i EVER have read or heard anything like this, maybe your just angry your country inst as good? (gaffer) I dunno, but seriously, this is BEAUTIFUL football. I dont remember who said this, but i think it was Xavi, he said, in the English league, the ball is lost every 5 to 6 second, that is not beautiful football. I couldn’t agree more. If you hated Spain’s performance, then you hate the sport, Sorry, but its just amazing someone is actually criticizing the way we play. It just sounds so stubborn! Gaffer, i think your just mad about how incredibly dominant we are, why would you EVEN say Spain is Barcelona! Calling Spain Barcelona was just over the line, i could care less about the rest of the article. Today, Gaffer, you have honestly crossed the line. This article is pure bull.

  27. Patrick says:

    This post is insane.

  28. Keith says:

    You can’t score if the “other team” has the ball.
    Spain just wants to, & happens to be good enough to, be that “other team”!

    Also, when Spain loses the ball, they go get it back, right now! (they must really love that ball… lol …)
    Anyone notice what happened to it after the game?
    Did they take it home with them, or let the Germans take it home so they could finally get a feel for it?

  29. dave says:

    Spain are the death of football – clogging up midfield, aimless, slow – painfully boring the other team into submission – its like watching paint dry.

  30. mike says:

    Its teams liek Spain that make kids want to watch basketball.

    The entire 90 minutes was so painfully boring and lacking any skill or excitement – seriously the odd “flick-on” on “beautiful pass” is not entertainng and is just because you cram everyone in your own half/mid-field.

    It is nothing liek dutch total football – where the entire pitdh is used to work towards creating goals – this is just clogging the ball up in midfield.

    They should perfect their technique and forma circle with the ball in the middle, link arms and be done with it.

    I’m thinking of watching golf instead.

  31. Ash says:

    Firstly, Joachim Loew would call Spain boring as they both outplayed and dominated Germany. More importantly Spain beat Germany, and not with fancy foot work either but from a direct decisive set-play whereby the scorer was totally unmarked.

    Secondly, EPL Talk is without doubt one of the best blogs on the net for football, however, as football is still an up and coming sport in the US and this blog when talking about US audiences tends to refer to increasing it’s popularity in general, television viewers, etc I think that it can veer towards the argument of a 4-4 result is better than a 1-0 result, or that the Premier league’s fast and frenetic gameplay is the best model. For me, watching Spain last night was intoxicating and although occassionally frustrating, it is how football should be taught to kids.

  32. Michael says:

    Wow, someone dares to criticise Spain and all the football anoraks get in a tizzy and leap to their defense. I have yet to see Spain play in an exciting game of football in this world cup, they have been so predictable. And no, it’s not because they are better than everyone else. This is the team that lost to Switzerland not so long ago. Look what the USA did to them in last year’s Confederations Cup.

    The Netherlands aren’t any better. Prepare yourselves for the worst World Cup Final since 1994. I’m predicting a 0-0 bore draw and Holland to win it on penalties.

  33. Tr12 says:

    Anyone who says Spanish aren’t boring are just trying to seem like they know more – a spade is a spade, yes they may be tactically better, but it is negative play and it is mind-numbingly boring.

    Its like playing someone at pool who keeps going for easy snookers instead of potting any balls – it requires much less skill

    You could stomach the praise if all the passing ended up in remarkable or well worked goals – I remember watching the Dutch do that a few years a go with Bergkamp etc – but thats not the case. Spain = hog the ball in midfield, bore the other team to death and then hope for a scrappy finish in the box.

    I really don’t see how anyone can get excited about games they play, its unfortunate that good teams who play them try to score – they should just sit back and wait for the penalties or hope for a scrappy goal as well.

    Hate Spanish football, would rather play like Argentina/Brazil and go out in round 1 – I’m sure their fans feel the same.

    • pat canada says:

      So you think it “requires less skill” to play the way Spain did? It requires the highest ability from their players!! I guess England should do that, surely!!

  34. kashdfw says:

    Germany lost the ball more often than Spain who had more control of the ball than the Germans. Spain scored. Germans didn’t. Germany lost. Spain won!!!!

    Within the first 4 minutes of the game, my eyes were glued to the TV because of the way Spain confidently manipulated the Germans through their controlled movement of the ball. Spain knew what they were doing. They seemed to have had a successful plan even before the match began, or at least, that’s what I prefer to think. Spain’s superior physical control of the ball helped them establish superior mental control over their opponents. Kudos to Spain for the well-earned victory!!

  35. Corey Bingham says:

    How can you blame Spain for the slow tempo game when Germany played with 5 defenders for a vast majority of the game and was satisfied with soaking up pressure and counterattacking rather then using build up play?

    Gaffer, Argentina tried to play the way that you would like and what happened? 4-0, Germany wins. I think you didn’t put enough thought into this post…

  36. Corey Bingham says:

    BTW, Spain made 16 shot attempts and 5 on target…does that sound like they were simply content to keep possession?

  37. Brn442 says:

    The Argentine side that made the final in 1990 were boring. Spain has been far from it, they haven’t hit all cylinders but are still in the final, that’s the sign of a good team. They came here to win the cup for the first time, not to be the Harlem Globetrotters. Today, they held on to the ball and avoided being carved open like you know who.

    And another thing: It’s good to see two out of the three perennial underachieving teams on the second tier of world football make it to the final. Are you watching England?

  38. I myself like a balance, I love the way Spain and Barca play but I think they do over-do it at times, it is sometimes fustrating the way they seem to want to walk the ball into the net.
    I think if you had 65% Barca with 35% Man Utd or Chelsea, you would have one hell of a team.
    This German team do not play great football, they are very very good on the counter, they break quick and with numbers and they catch teams cold. When they go a goal up and the other team are forced to attack they are super dangerous but Spain didn’t let that happen last night, they kept the ball and when they went a goal up the German plan A was out of the window and they didn’t seem to have a plan B.

    Congrat’s Spain, you deserved it, let’s hope the Dutch have a bit more about them than this pussy German team had tonight, if they have, we could be in for a fantastic game.

  39. Jon says:

    Thanks Gaffer for most of this tournament I thought I was the only person in the world not enamored with the great Spain. Essentially they try to keep the ball so long that the other team gets bored and loses focus. The have so many gifted players it is frustrating to watch them play so conservatively. I am not looking forward to the final at all, I hope I am wrong but I can’t see anything more than another 1-0 result. As someone else mentioned I was also disappointed with Germany tonight too though. They had some great chances to get into the game and their passing was very sloppy.

  40. tonyspeed says:

    i’m tired of you people who want to turn the beautiful game into american football or basketball by hurling “hail-marys” up the pitch and fouling each other into submission. if you want that kind of game please watch basketball, if not do yourself a favour and stop watching football. we will not miss you.

    if i didn’t know any better, i would swear some people on this board have never played a day of decent football in their life.

  41. Mark says:

    That was indeed the most boring game of the WC2010, much because Germany didn’t do anything.

    I guess the final will be totally different anyway as I expect the Dutch to bring fight to the pitch. Seen some of their qualifier matches which were excellent and they appear very determined to win

  42. Aidan says:

    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/07/07/spain-1-0-germany-2010-world-cup-tactics/

    “In all, a marvellous game of football.”

    I agree with them. The Gaffer’s analysis is akin to somebody used to blockbusters passing an opinion on the work of David Lynch.

    The only performance I found more impressive than Spain’s last night was Mexico’s against France although you have to factor in the standard of opposition.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Aidan, I love David Lynch’s work. I can appreciate his art because it keeps you interested and involved in the story. Spain does the opposite. They bore me.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • TR1 says:

        Perhaps it was Martin Tyler’s commentary. We watched the game with two flat screens, one with Univision on. Tyler’s commentary was excessively dour. it would put me to sleep as well as his commentary is best suited to a run and score game as opposed to a midfield battle.

        • The Gaffer says:

          TR1, that could have been a factor. It was a hum-drum game and a hum-drum commentary to accompany it.

          Cheers,
          The Gaffer

          • TR1 says:

            Give Univision try for the final. They get the rhythm of the game. Interesting if you see a different Spain. Also, would not mind an article on Spanish versus Englsh commentary because Tyler’s commentary is basically baseball-type, passing observation conversation during the game (no wonder he needs fireworks to perk up), while the Univision commentary tries to put you on the middle of the field in the intensity of play where every movement counts. Very different.

      • Dude. says:

        Thats because the teams that play against Spain play in a super defensive manner. There were like 8 to 9 germans just outside the box at all times!!

  43. Mike says:

    I always hear people asking why isn’t soccer bigger in the US. Whenever anyone asks me that in the future, I will find and replay this game for them.

    Thanks Spain for reminding me why I only watch soccer once every four years.

  44. Ray Curren says:

    Think you’re losing it, Gaffer:

    I love Cesc Fabregas as much as the next guy, but the Spanish record in knockout stages in the last 2 big tournaments speaks for itself, doesn’t it? (and remember Spain had done basically nothing to this point):

    Keep in mind also that Spain rolled through the group stage of the 2006 World Cup with 9 points before getting exposed at the back by France, conceding 3 times in a 3-1 loss.

    Euro 2008
    QF – Spain 0, Italy 0 (Spain advances 4-2 on PK)
    SF – Spain 3, Russia 0
    Final – Spain 1, Germany 0

    2010 World Cup
    2nd R – Spain 1, Portugal 0
    QF – Spain 1, Paraguay 0
    SF – Spain 1, Germany 0

    So I think you can see why del Bosque plays Bousquets and Xavi Alonso the way he does. It’s worked and he’s afraid he’s going to get exposed if he doesn’t. Probably rightfully so.

    Spain only allowed 5 goals in qualifying, by the way, 3 of which came after they had already qualified. The other 2 came early (at Turkey and at Belgium) and Spain struggled to come back to win, 2-1 both times. But if they score first they haven’t lost since that fateful day against France four years ago, and the lesson they took out of it is that you’d better sure up the back.

    The lesson was driven home when they lost 2 of their first 3 qualifiers for Euro 2008: 2-0 to Sweden, and 3-2 to mighty Northern Ireland when David Healy scored a hat trick after Spain grabbed an early lead and blew it again.

    They weren’t about to make the same mistake again.

  45. Pakapala says:

    If Spain was boring against Germany last wednesday then Barcelona was boring against Manchester and Chelsea in 2009. They couldn’t break the bus that was park in front of Germany’s goal post. That is why they could only pass around until they find a hole. That’s what teams like Barcelona, Arsenal end up doing when they face an organized defense, nothing to do with them being boring but everything to do with the opposition not wanting to open up the game.

  46. GARY AEDGE says:

    It’s in the Spaniards blood == boring, lazy, slow == SIESTA. Possession soccer games should be outlawed. Time limits to get the ball to the goal area should be instituted. No more boring, energy-wasting running around trying to impress us with your beautiful? passes. SPANISH FUTBOL = SIESTA ESPANA = MIGHT AS WELL TAKE A NAP ‘CUZ THEY’RE JUST GOIN’ TO KEEP PASSING BALLS WITH HARDLY A CLUE AS TO HOW TO EFFICIENTLY SCORE A GOAL. THERE SHOULD BE A RULE IN SOCCER, SIMILAR TO THE NBA 24-SECOND RULE, WHERE YOU HAVE TO DRIVE THE BALL TO THE GOAL AREA WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME LIMIT. THE GERMAN TEAM IS THE ONLY TEAM THAT MATTERS WHEN IT COMES TO SOCCER == PLAY WITH PRECISION, EFFICIENT, SKILLFUL, TACTICAL. THEY SAY SPAIN PLAYS POSSESSION = I CALL THAT SIESTA FUTBOL = SO BORINGLY LAZY AND SUCH A WASTEFUL WAY TO EXPEND THEIR ENERGY. ARE THOSE PLAYERS REALLY PAID TO WASTE THEIR TIME ON THE PITCH? BORING BORING BORING, LAZY LAZY LAZY, INEFFICIENT INEFFICIENT INEFFICIENT, TACTICAL CLUELESS.

  47. Thomas says:

    totally agree with this post.
    the popular media all seem to two the same line, the easy story that spain are beautiful to watch. but honestly i thought germany was far more exicitng. every time germany had the ball they tried to make a chance, whereas spain seem to want to keep the ball just so that the other team can’t have it. you shouldn’t confuse possession with beauty. it’s no conincidence that spain won the world cup scoring the lowest amount of goals of any winner. in fact watching spain hold the ball in midfield bores me so much i think fifa should introduce a new rule that any team who has possesion of the ball for 2 minutes and doesnt make a single shot at goal should have their entire midfield yellow carded :)

    but seriously, another huge issue is their small midfielders, ok they are manevaurable but part of the reason you cant get the ball is because when you try to put a tackle in they fall over because most opponent midfielders are bigger than them and the ref calls a foul nowadays for any player that falls over. how is it possible that there were 12 yellow cards in the final and not a single injured player? 5 years ago 12 yellow cards would have meant the game was filled with injured players through elbows and tackles from behing. thankfully fifa has stamped those tackles out form the players but refs seems to give more yellow cards than ever, like they have a quota to fulful each game. and ok everyone will say the de jong challenge was evil but he was honestly going for the ball, yes it was dangerous which is why fifa introudce the dangerous play rule, but high boots happen all the time, alonso was just unlucky to get hit by it. for the same token cavani did a bicycle kick against de zuuews face in the semi final and that also wasn’t evil. the ultra slow motions in this world cup have also confused the hell out of every pundit and journalist who think that because a sliding tackle takes 10 seconds to show in ultra slow motion, that means that the player had all the time in the world to react and stop himself hitting the player. human beings cannot react at all quicker than 1/10 of a second (hence the false start rule in athletics), which is the equivalent of about 3 seconds on an ultra slow motion, so basically anything that happens in the last 3 seconds is too quick for the player to to anything about. the media are all morons who can’t think for themselves and find it wasier to create a narrative based on what others are saying and fifa is ruining the game. all of them are bastards. oh, I’m dutch by the way.

  48. Mikelo says:

    Agree with Gaffer. Spain plays perfect Keep Away,
    and they’ve uncovered a weakness of the game
    right now — just as Germany and Italy unlocked
    a weakness of football in the eighties — see
    1990 final, and 94 final. So the silver lining is
    that teams will now have to develop the strategies
    and skills to break the new defensive stranglehold.

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