By Aman Anand,Writer
Italy lost for the following reasons:
- Spain began the game at a sizzling pace that they had not previously demonstrated in the entire tournament. Spain had been criticized for an almost quixotic form of their trademark 'tiki taka' passing game, one which was procedural rather than effective, as demonstrated by their failure to score against Portugal (and the all round lethargy of their performance in normal time). As with many great sides, they saved their best performance for the final. Their movement in the final third was more incisive than in any previous match, and their decision to start the game at a breakneck pace signaled their intent to take their game to new heights.
- Xavi had his best game of the tournament. Xavi had just come off his worst season for Barcelona in many a year. Before the final, he had criticized himself for not being 'transcendental enough' in the tournament. All the pre-match talk had been of Spain needing to find a way to stop Pirlo from taking control of the game; in the end, it was Xavi who dominated the battle of the two greatest deep lying playmakers in recent history. His assist for Alba's goal was sublime, as was his all-round play throughout the entire game.
- Del Bosque's brave 4-6-0 formation showed its mettle. Ever since Del Bosque unveiled his 4-6-0 formation against Italy in Spain's opening game, many people criticized it for being overtly defensive, with the implication being that playing without a recognized center forward meant Spain was being defensive. Their performance in the final showed that nothing could be further from the truth. Fabregas, Silva, and Iniesta were able to interchange their movement at will, confusing Italy's back four to no end. It was no coincidence that it was these three players who worked together to set up Spain's first goal. To make matters worse for the Italians, the fullbacks Arbeloa and Alba overlapped at will, stretching the Italian defense even further.
More questions on football (soccer):
- Why is Barcelona Football Club so good?
- Why does it seem footballers are lacking precision in their shots compared to other sports such as basketball, ice hockey, tennis, American football?
- Is football hooliganism strictly a British cultural phenomenon?
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