Archive for July 1st, 2012
Is this the best team ever? Spain’s Euro 2012 masterclass is great for football and confirms the champions as best in the world
For so long the under-achievers of world football, Spain have re-written the record books by becoming the first nation to win three successive major tournaments. And now the debate begins about whether or not this is the greatest European side we have ever seen.
Watching Spain outclass Italy with a masterclass of breathtaking artistry, it was easy to get carried away with the eulogies for a delicious display that quite simply buried the Italians.
The mischievous pre-match suggestion by Arsene Wenger that Spain have turned their domination into a boring art form looked as ridiculous as it sounded as Vicente Del Bosque’s men confirmed their superiority with a swagger.
Euro 2012 has been a tournament to savour from the start with a succession of spectacular matches and performances. But the magnificent way Spain have won the tournament by passing their opponents off the pitch has been the stuff of legend.
Playing much of the tournament without a recognised striker did not stop Spain reigning with goals of the highest quality. Glorious first half strikes from David Silva and Jordi Alba flattened the Italians, then late goals from substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata made it 4-0 to wrap up victory in style.
Until the Spaniards beat Germany 1-0 with a late goal from Torres to win Euro 2008, their only previous triumph was the 1964 European Championship. But since that priceless strike from Torres, Spain have added the 2010 World Cup to their collection and confirmed their pedigree by retaining the Euros in majestic style in Kiev.
David Beckham’s snub by Stuart Pearce is a disgraceful omission from Team GB for one of the leading lights behind London 2012
Football is about passion, romance and making dreams come true. That’s why we call it the beautiful game . . . and that’s why Stuart Pearce is way off target by omitting David Beckham from Team GB.
Forget the notion that Beckham is too old at 37. His old Manchester United buddy Ryan Giggs, a year older at 38, is one of the three over-age players selected by Pearce along with Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards.
Dismiss the argument that he’s not playing at a high enough level in the MLS. His LA Galaxy team-mate Robbie Keane has just skippered the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2012 and has one eye on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Please take no notice of the killjoys who do not agree that the fans who want to watch a locally born footballing icon in action at London 2012 should be given their wish. Heaven forbid that the paying customer should have a voice.
At the end of the day, Team GB has not competed at the Olympics since 1960 and this is a one-off representative side to celebrate London being the host nation.
More to the point Becks played a starring role in helping London win the vote to become the first city to stage its third Olympic Games. And his exclusion from the 18-man squad is a shocking slap in the face for a sporting hero who is a true ambassador both for the game and for Britain.
We all know that the former England captain is not the greatest British footballer who ever played the game. But he is nonetheless an outstanding talent . No one can bend it like Beckham. And he remains a remarkable sporting icon who should be a proud member of Team GB.
Shame on Stuart Pearce for failing to recognise Beckham’s role is far greater than a number on a shirt.
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