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EURO 2024: No longer just Tiki-Taka: Brilliant Spaniards in title form

EURO 2024: No longer just Tiki-Taka: Brilliant Spaniards in title form
EURO 2024: No longer just Tiki-Taka: Brilliant Spaniards in title form

That was impressive. In the duel with the defending champions, the Spaniards delivered a gala performance. Not least because they have new weapons.

The words of Spain’s national coach Luis de la Fuente sounded like a threat to the competition. “We can definitely continue to improve. I don’t know where the limits are,” said de la Fuente after the football gala in the 1-0 win against the hopelessly overwhelmed defending champions from Italy.

“All players have incredible potential that they have not yet fully exploited,” said the coach after the early qualification for the round of 16 in Gelsenkirchen. “Spanish footballers are the best in the world.”

Wham: The self-confident statements of the otherwise rather reserved de la Fuente must have been well received in the training camps of the French, English and also by Julian Nagelsmann’s new party footballers in Herzogenaurach. Look, this is how the number one title candidate plays – that was the message that the Spaniards sent to their competitors after their prestigious victory against Italy. “Of course we want to be European champions,” said winger Nico Williams, who plunged the pitiful Squadra Azzurra from one embarrassment to the next with speed and elegance in front of the eyes of the Spanish King Felipe VI.

Amazing development

The 21-year-old left winger from Athletic Bilbao was rightly named player of the match. When he returned to the Iberians’ dressing room, there was loud applause from his teammates. “I was very happy about that,” said Williams, who formed a congenial winger duo with the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal. “I’ve always dreamed of playing such a role at a European Championship,” said Williams.

The Spaniards should have decided the match by halftime, but they missed a series of huge scoring opportunities. It was the only criticism of an otherwise impressive performance. “That was probably the best game I’ve played,” said de la Fuente. “Italy looked so weak because we were so good.”

His team has recently made astonishing progress. Only a year ago, de la Fuente was heavily criticized at home. Experts and the media complained that the coach was too pale and too quiet, and that his team lacked spirit. With the win in the Nations League, where Italy was also defeated in the semi-finals, the positive process began in the team of the European champions of 2008 and 2012, which had been so disappointing at the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and was eliminated in the round of 16.

Spain in the quarter-finals against Germany?

De la Fuente has succeeded in developing the Tiki-Taka, which was feared for many years but has recently become worn out. The sometimes seemingly endless ball passes were complemented by the dribbling of the two fast wingers Williams and Yamal – a threatening combination for any opponent.

“There are people who didn’t believe in us. But we sent a message that Spain is always there,” said left-back Marc Cucurella, who also performed outstandingly against Italy. The German team could also feel this as the tournament progresses – as Spain’s possible quarter-final opponent.

Source: Stern

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