Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching England defeat Spain in a match that put into display the weaknesses of the defending world champions. Undoubtedly Spain is the best footballing nation in the world, and they play a positive football style that closely resembles that of FC Barcelona. That said, they do not have the attacking power of the Catalonian side - that is, they need a Messi (who with his performances for Argentina, should probably be Spaniard). This is not to say that Spain lacks quality strikers, but one must not forget that Spain was (ironically, considering that they are not a defensive side) the team that has won the World Cup scoring least goals ever! In that sense, their victory is founded on their strong defense and the worlds' best goalkeeper in Iker Casillas.
Yesterday, Fabio Capello's English side was surely not the better team, but they were the smartest. In the first half, Spain had all the possession, but chances were missing against an English defensive wall and a strong fighting spirit that has not been a hallmark of English national sides over the last years.
It wasn't pretty, but it was efficient.
In the second half England came a bit more forward, and on a free kick Darren Bent got an excellent header that Pepe Reina could not hold, and Frank Lampard had an easy time scoring in an empty goal.
Spain continued pressing, and did get some huge chances at the end of the match. But at the same time they also seemed to get more frustrated, and the match left the impression of a vulnerable Spanish side. Spain had an easy time qualifying for the EURO 2012, but it was in a very easy group. Since the World Cup, they have lost to every major side they have played: Argentina, Portugal, Italy, France, and now England. Of course, these are friendly matches, and the other sides fight hard to get the scalp of the world champions. Still, Spain is losing too many scalps, and the match from yesterday should leave some doubts as to how strong they will be for the European championships next year.