England have celebrated their win over World and European Champions Spain as though they’ve won a major tournament.Its understandable that beating the No.1 team in the world will boost the Three Lions morale, but they should remember this was just a friendly game and if they want to walk away with gold at next years EURO, they would have to come up with much more than the defensive play they adopted last night to better the Spaniards.
On the flip side (and to play devils advocate), even though it was just a friendly, the Spanish should worry that teams are becoming more fluent in the defensive play against them. Vicente del Bosque’s men should feel a little embarrassed, what with them being World and European Champions who couldn’t even come up with one goal despite all their dribbling.
The English made it clear right from the kick off whistle that they were going to defend the Spanish out, and this tactic worked well for them, despite it making the game a rather tedious one to watch.
Not to say that Spain didn’t have their chances, the best of which Sergio Busquets should have netted the cross from Alonso, but instead kicked it much to high. Lamps’ header came shortly after half time, after a foul from the Spanish saw a free kick awarded to England. The ball came flying in, and Bent’s head found it and directed it to the goal post, Lamps made contact with the ball on the rebound and Reina just wasn’t sharp enough.
“Cescy” Fabregas, who may just have been over scrutinised as this was his first return to London since his move to Barca had chance, with an open opportunity for him which was wasted. Villa also missed a chance and these were costly for Spain as England landed the one goal they needed, and then settled back into playing the rest of the match from their half of the pitch (*yawn*)
Capello’s men adopted this over-defensive tactic, that we see teams resorting to against sides like Spain and Barca. Even thought the Spanish clearly dominated. England squeezed the goal that they needed and won – they got thee job done. As England coach Fabio Capello said after the match “It was the only way we could beat them.” And as commentators highlighted, Spains record in friendly matches since winning the World Cup has been below par, with a draw against Mexico and losses to Argentina, Portugal and now England. Are teams just figuring that this is THE only way to get past the creative sides? Is this tactic killing the game? Or is it simply what must be done to win against such teams? What do you guys think?