Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spain up against real opposition

I was wary of everyone being so impressed about Spain's performance so far in the Euro 2016. A meager victory over a weak Czech side, and a strong victory against a weaker Turkish side are not much to brag about.
So it was bound to be interesting to see them against a real side, Croatia, who despite of their fans and the absence of Luka Modric, remain a strong outsider to the title.
And Croatia's performance against Spain proved the potential of the Balkan side: a 2-1 victory on goals by Nikola Kalinic and a splendid Ivan Perisic means that they are now group winners ahead of Spain.
I find it impossible not to like Croatia a lot, even though I try not to because of their fans.

In the meantime the match proved a lot of vulnerabilities in Spain, and notably in the selections of Vicente del Bosque; the change of Nolito for Bruno showed a certain insecurity. Iniesta looked tired, and should perhaps have been rested, while De Gea did not look good at Perisic's goal (I still think they should use the legendary Iker Casillas). And on top of it all, Sergio Ramos missed a penalty after a Silva dive, and one has to wonder why Ramos, of all people, shoots the penalty?
It is now likely that Spain will face Italy in the last-16, and that is also real opposition that is, perhaps, even better than Croatia.

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