Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sketchy-ness of Spain
And before you all snicker and point out how utterly wrong I was, what a twatty bandwagon-hopper, a naive fawn-eyed romantic, a spur of the moment sucker without objectivity or common sense, I would like to say for the record, I stand by my remarks. As a countertenor, I know what it's like to receive praise and admiration from colleagues and onlookers only to step out and crack like a knee-knocking twelve year old on the wrong side of puberty. Arshavin will be back, perhaps to haunt the bench of a La Liga mid-tabler for a while, but he'll be back.
So, help me Spain, you're my only hope. You should know I still don't like you. Yeah sure, demolish Russia twice like it ain't no thang, murder Sweden cruelly at the end and make Greece look like a parody of their defensive selves four years ago, but when you meet big bad Italy, well then, pass it around and pray for pens. That said, I would take a self-satisfied David Villa over a glib, grinning Schweinsteiger any day of the week.
I can't help but think the final will be a repeat of the Italian job. There is something...green about these Spanish players, like they're not sure if they're a national team yet. Watch Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, hell, even the Faroe Islands...you know even after a hopeless defeat against an inferior nation (Guam?), these are still real live national teams.
Even when Spain plays well as they did today, they don't convince. It's as if General Franco's ghost will pop around the corner just as Puyol cracks open "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and everyone will begin pummeling each other while Aragones murmurs racial epithets to himself. Ramos looks uncomfortable passing to Fabregas, who looks uncomfortable playing next to Villa, who looks like he's on his own football-shaped planet altogether. They don't seem to believe they're worthy, either as a team or a nation. And Germany will smell this fear, and destroy them.
This tournament has been a relay race of attacking football. Holland to Russia, Russia to Spain. Ideally, the romantic outcome on the 29th would be a Spanish masterclass of attacking football and the complete overturning of a systematic and ruthless German squad.
But what if the baton passes from Spain to Germany? If the Germans have to win, perhaps they could do it in a style that will fulfill the promise made way back on June 9 2006, when 4 German goals were enough to douse Costa Rica's 2 and the whole of Germany seemed to be turning over a new leaf until normal service resumed and the old German gears started grinding again, only to be superseded in cynicism by Italy.
It's not too late for a miracle. Goodness knows we've seen enough of those already.