This result was almost a foregone conclusion, but congratulations to my Spanish friends.
Although the New York Times may have exaggerated when calling the Spanish national team the “beat national team in the history of soccer,” (the Wall Street Journal agrees) it’s probably not far off. They were wonderful yesterday, with a superb exhibit of ball handling that crushed the Italian team, winning the European championship with the score of 4-0. This video shows all the goals (the first, on a header, is stunning):
On Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine, Spain defeated Italy, 4-0, to become the first nation to win back-to-back European championships. And let’s not forget that Spain won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Comparisons? Brazil? West Germany? The great Hungarian teams of the 1950s? Spain is great and may have time to be even greater. Its players are young and in their prime, and there is no reason to doubt that Spain will contend in 2014 in Brazil and again in 2016, when France hosts the next Euro.
Interesting footnote: the United States is one of the few, if not the only, team to have beaten both Spain (2009 Confederations Cup) and Italy (friendly earlier this year) in recent years.
Spain has an incredible record of 42-3-4 in its last 49 games and made Coach Vincente del Bosque the first coach in soccer history to win the World Cup, European Champions League and European Championshisp.
It’s hard to know where the superlatives end.
I’ve been following soccer for only a few years, so I have no idea if this is the best national team ever. Readers can weigh in here, though if one could form a single fantasy team with the best players of modern time, it would surely be Brazil.