Zinedine Zidane once said, “The day Spain begin winning, they won’t stop.” Zizou was correct as Spain won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2014. But all good things must come to an end and La Roja’s dominance was shattered as they exited the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the group stage.
Let’s take a quick stroll down a Spanish memory lane:
Spain ended their trophy drought of 44 years in 2008 and claimed the European crown under Luis Aragones. La Roja had previously won just one major trophy, which was the European Championship in 1964.
World Cup 2010
Spain entered the 2010 FIFA World Cup as the favourites, but in their opening game of the World Cup proper the team lost to Switzerland 1-0. It was believed that it was just a fluke that Spain won the Euros, but Casillas and his team-mates were quite eager to prove that they were still world beaters. In their second game of that 19th FIFA World Cup, they started picking up pace. Spain beat Honduras by 2-0 with David Villa getting on the score-sheet twice. Villa was again on target against Chile and the score board read 2-1. Spain topped the Group H with Chile grabbing the runners-up spot.
In the first knock-out game of the tournament, Spain met Portugal in Cape Town. Ronaldo’s Portugal had survived the group of death and were now pitched against Del Bosque’s side. It was a tough match-up for both the sides and a low scoring one too. David Villa scored the only goal of the game in the 63rd minute, which was enough to book a place in the quarter finals. Paraguay were the next opponents and by then Spain had acquired the much needed momentum, but again the winner was decided very late when David Villa scored his fifth goal of the tournament.
In the semi-finals Spain were pitched against a very young German side. German fans were disheartened when Puyol out of all players headed the ball in the 73rd minute to knock them out.
The matches were played across ten stadiums in South Africa and the final took place in Johannesburg. It was down to two great teams with some exceptional individual players. The three-time finalists Netherlands came face to face with the first time finalists. So it was certain one country would be included in the list of seven other winners. It was a very exciting game which gave fans goose bumps from the first minute itself.Refree Howard Webb was not reluctant in handing out cards. He gave 14 yellow cards and a red card to John Heitinga of Netherlands. Despite, a lot of one-on-one chances, Netherlands lost and it was Andres Iniesta’s 116th minute strike which separated the two sides. It was the latest ever goal scored in a World Cup tournament. Spain became the eighth country to lay its hand on the World Cup gold.
Can Spain get back to their winning ways is the age of tika taka over?
Can the next crop of Spanish superstars achieve the same success as the golden generation? Let us know what you think in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.