Tag: Spain

World Cup 2010: Germany 0-1 Spain

Two years is not a long time in football, especially when you consider that national sides evolve, certainly more than club sides. In that respect, you would have expected quite a few rematches from European Championship finals happening in subsequent World Cups. However, of the twenty-six finalists in the first thirteen European Championships, six of them have failed to qualify (including Czecholslovakia Denmark and Greece, who were European Championships), and three others have failed to get out of the group stages. This is the first time since 1986 when both of the European Championship finalists have made it past the first round, and only the fourth time since the European Championships kicked off in 1960 – and this is the first time since that initial competition that the finalists have met in the next World Cup. In France in 1960, the Soviet Union needed extra time to defeat Yugoslavia 2-1, and two years later in Chile, the reigning European Champions were once again victorious, this time keeping a clean sheet as they ran out 2-0 winners, both times Viktor Ponedelnik scoring the decisive goal. Spain, will be hoping for history to repeat itself, although the winning goalscorer from that night in Vienna two years ago is on the bench – his lack of fitness finally costing him his starting place. Vincente Del Bosque replaces him with Barcelona’s Pedro. It...

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World Cup 2010: Paraguay 0-1 Spain

What a world. Regardlesss of the lie of the fixtures, if anyone had said two days ago that Paraguay and Uruguay would be the last South American representatives in the 2010 World Cup, they would have been dismissed as cranks. But here we are. We have had three marvellous quarter-finals so far (for an almost baffling variety of different reasons) and here we are, all set for the final match between Paraguay and Spain. The Paraguayan flame has burnt intermittently in South Africa so far. Their penalty shootout win in the last round against Japan came at the end of possibly the worst match of the tournament so far, but they demonstrated their capability in winning their group as Italy imploded. Spain, meanwhile, have also been a mixed bag. They play in a style so relaxed that it could almost be described as “louche”, stroking the ball around as if they are playing a jazz solo on a bass guitar, but this has costs as well as benefits. Two of their three wins have been some degree short of outstanding, and their opening game defeat at the hands of Switzerland seemed to demonstrate cracks in the invincible aura that they had built up around themselves. Fernando Torres seems out of sorts. Paraguay have nothing to lose. A match that may have filled the Paraguayans with trepidation a couple of...

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World Cup 2010: Spain 1-0 Portugal

I’m not sure what channel I’m watching but it’s not one of ours. The pundits sound refreshing. There’s a Scotsman who looks a bit like Hansen but uses verbs and sounds interested. In fact, it’s as if it is Hansen but he’s next to proper pundits, so he has to raise his game so as not to sound lazy and under-informed. Alongside him is a nicely understated Dutchman who is always to the point. He admires the Spanish not simply because “they’ve got Torres,” but because “there are always two options for the man with the ball… it’s not about the man with the ball if he has no options.” Simple logic. I’m not even pining for Lee Dixon, the best the Beeb has to offer. And on the end is an American fellow with a German sounding name but a broader Californian accent than even the state’s governor himself. Proper broadcast journalist, too. He has a take on Fernando Torres’s fitness because “I spoke to Torres.” Can’t imagine Alan Shearer would even try. Unfortunately, though, whatever channel this is has had to buy in the BBC’s match coverage – journalistic budgets aren’t what they were. And so we’re soon in the company of Jonathan Pearce and Mark Lawrenson, the comedy double act with two straight men; Lawrenson possibly one of the reasons music hall died. Pearce avoids the...

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World Cup 2010: Chile 1-2 Spain

“Not a word sung by the Spanish players, they know they have to win,” proclaims Clive Tyldesley, as the Spanish national anthem finishes. The fans must know they have to win too, because they aren’t singing any words either. It’s almost as if there ARE NO WORDS TO THE SPANISH NATIONAL ANTHEM. I missed ITV’s pre-amble to that point, but I still saw way too much. Co-commentator Chris Coleman seems a tad over-fond of the phrase “A fit Torres would have got that,” using it regardless of whether Torres “got it” or not. Coleman has the good grace to apologise for “going on about it.” There are nine minutes gone. Chile are frighteningly good in the early stages, slicing open the Spanish defence more than once and unlucky that Mark Gonzalez slips as he tries to finish off the best move, although large parts of Liverpool might suggest he’d have found the corner flag one way or another. Tyldesley makes the astonishing admission that South American football is “all a bit of a mystery to us,” bemoaning the lack of domestic TV access to “the Copa Libertadores and all that.” I suppose you’d have to be a full-time professional football commentator working for a major broadcasting network to… ah. Inexplicably, Tyldesley says “Ascuncion” like an English tourist trying to make foreigners understand him, but it is not to be...

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World Cup 2010: Spain 2-0 Honduras

The part-timers from Honduras took on the mighty European champions Spain with it all at stake: a loss for the Spanish side would see the tournament favourites eliminated at the first hurdle. What could possibly happen? Well, naturally enough, Spain won at a canter. However comfortable the performance, though, the margin of victory could yet cause some furrowed brows and frenzied abacus work come this Friday evening’s Group H deciders.

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