Spain: can they keep their incredible run going?

“Spain’s current run of success is unprecedented – two European Championships, with a World Cup between. When you consider their distinctive playing style, and the way they’ve taken possession football to the extreme, they’re unquestionably one of the greatest international sides in history. They are, however, more vulnerable than in previous years. That’s because key players have declined since Euro 2012. While others have been in and out of the side, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta have been the two midfield stars consistent throughout Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. They’re the personification of Spain’s Barcelona-based tiki-taka game, and together they had their least impressive season for years. At his best, Xavi controlled matches better than any midfielder in the world, maybe better than any midfielder ever has, but now there are questions about his mobility and capacity to lead this side. Iniesta’s season at club level was disappointing, but he always delivers at international tournaments, and for the first time it is Iniesta, not Xavi, who must become Spain’s technical leader.” Zonal Marking


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