Los 40 USA
NewslettersSign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Spain, the Czech Republic and that resilience


Albania vs Spain live

Spain - Czech Republic

Now it’s Spain’s turn. The Czech Republic are the rivals, half of what was Czechoslovakia, a county with a fine standing in football. Two time World Cup finalists (1938 and 1962) and European champions (1976). The Czech Republic was, in historic terms, the better half, it could be said. Panenka, author of that famous goal, was Czech, as was Masopust, Ballon d’Or in 1962. Now they have Cech, who resists the passage of time and Rosicky, a masterclass of a footballer now showing his age and his injuries, but who on his day, of which there are less and less now, is still capable of incredible things.

Spain's steady resilience has gone

It’s not a Czech side like that of Poborsky which reached the Euro finals in 1996 (losing on a golden goal to Germany), but they knocked out Holland en route to France. Yes, that Holland side who ended our winning run in Brazil, with that terrible 5-1. We’ve taken a long time to recover. In truth, we still haven’t fully got back to where we were. The team’s play has improved (though they don't have the supreme style they had), but the set-backs are still evident. That steady resilience has gone. That’s what the side is trying to recover at Euro 2016. It’s the only guarantee of results.

Del Bosque knows his team

The team seems set, excepting a final change in the goals, which could bring back doubts thought already settled. What’s certain are the full-backs: Juanfran and Jordi Alba, who defend well and attack better; a triangle of certainty in Ramos-Busquets-Piqué, which any team would envy; the well-tuned violins of Silva and Iniesta, the up-and-down Cesc, with his coming and going and attempts to score; the spark of Nolito and the youthful maturity of Morata. That’s the side that are looking for that resilience we lost on a terrible afternoon against Holland. Del Bosque has been looking for it for two years. And I believe he’s finally found it.