Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Red Fury Roar Back to Life

(yahoo sports)

I guess it was only a matter of time. Spain's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in the first match left the manager wanting more from his players. More of a winning mentality and a cutting edge. No where on the field could you find a crisp urge by any of the players. Well, a sublime 90 minutes and a goal of the tournament nominee left all the doubters reclaiming their seats on the bandwagon.

Del Bosque made all the right switches. In the absence of Iniesta, he brought on Jesus Navas. No clearer could a difference be seen than the Seville winger adding loads of width to the game. Not only were his 20-odd crosses spot on, but he opened up gaping alleys in Honduras' back four for both Villa and Torres (the another effective change) to attack. A wider game with an extra striker to worry about is Spain's winning formula. There is no reason whatsoever to maroon Villa up top on his own, and the middle looks to be a clusterfuck at times with Xavi, Busquets, and Alonso.

And what about David Villa. Extra special for me licking my chops all game with unbridled anticipation to see this man perform in a Barcelona shirt next season. Poor Sergio Mendoza at left back never stood a chance as he was skinned time and time again. As Ally McCoist observed ever so correctly, "It's gonna be a long night for you pal." Villa could have walked off with about 10 goals, but at least 3 would have done him justice had he not missed a penalty kick in the second half. And just a quick point - that miss could ultimately screw them. With both Chile and Switzerland still in the mix, goal difference is the first tie breaker and every one counts.

But the favorites finally came through with the performance they needed. Heading into their third, and arguably their toughest match of the group stages against Chile, this team looks poised to push forward and win their way into top spot of the group. One game at a time as either Portugal or Brazil lie waiting in the next round. For now though, the Spanish should savor this win, and prepare themselves for another do or die match on Friday.

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