So Spain once again are champions of Europe. It can now be argued that they are one of the finest national sides of all time, alongside the great Brazilian sides of 1958 and the 1970s. It is hard for me to compare this side to those as I wasn’t even a glimmer in my mother’s eye when the great Pele was plying his trade. However, what I can certainly say is that this is the greatest team I have seen since the France side that won both the World and European cups in 1998 and 2000 respectively. The mercurial Fabien Barthez protected by Lilian Thuram, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly and my favourite, Bixente Lizarazu. Up front the pace and finesse of Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka was supported by Youri Djorkaeff and Christophe Dugarry, and what is left to say about Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane that hasn’t already been said?
Football is a funny game. In just a short space of time, a team can go from being on top of the world, to rock bottom. It is what keeps us fans hooked. Over the years many teams have fallen down this road. France, Italy and obviously England, but now we can add another team to that list. Holland.
This was it. The headline act of the Group of Death. The Clash of the Titans. The age-old European rivalry reigniting. And for our viewing pleasure. Clearly the best game of the group stages, for some people, the winner of Germany vs Netherlands last night would reveal the winner of the whole tournament. It was bound to be a spectacle of epic proportions, a show of outstanding technique, and would most definitely be a close-run battle. And that it was, and yet, I find myself underwhelmed by how it went down. Well, me, and of course, the Dutch.
Holland surprised everyone when they reached the World Cup Final in South Africa, but they simply did what they had been threatening to do for many years at major international tournaments. With a front three consisting of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, you could argue this is the best attacking line up of any team in the tournament this year, especially after Holland were the highest scoring team during the qualifying (albeit with a huge help from San Marino). But, it appears that they have a few issues to address.