Let me start by saying that Spain is currently the best football side in the world, and that is something that has to be respected. However, the Spanish, who have won many admirers over the years, are now turning that admiration into desperation. Last night's victory against Portugal in the semifinal of the Euro 2012 was hard-earned against a fighting but not sufficiently cold-blooded Portuguese side, but the Spanish continue to play a style that while efficient, is evermore boring to look at.
For many years Italy was criticised for their defensive Catennaccio style, where one goal and a brilliant defense gave them many triumphs, but exasperated many fans who would prefer to see Italy's brilliant players entertain. Now Italy, under Cesare Prandelli, is playing much more offensive, but Spain seems to be starting to play a "Catennaccio a la Paella"; without being outright defensive, they rely on their incredible passing abilities and possession to do the occassional brilliant outburst that give them one of their less-than-frequent shots on goal. With its strong defense and the world's best goalkeeper this style is proving highly efficient, but incredibly boring to look at by neutral fans like myself, who would like a more direct style. Spain has even gone to the lenghts of not playing with an outright striker for some parts of the matches, something that to me seems like defensive arrogance rather than some brilliant strategic choice.
Footballing styles come and go, and there is no doubt that given the brilliant players Spain has, they can play like this, and they remain favourites to take their third major title in a row next Sunday. But when their current players come of age, another style, hopefully more entertaining, will become more dominant. Germany is currently the side with the greatest potential to take over from the Spanish, and with a more direct style that will not be as incredibly boring as the last three matches that Spain has given us in the tournament.