Leaping out from the deluge of post Euro opinion are two basic questions which seem to be swamped by all the expert, and not so expert, punditry. From a national perspective, why did England not do better? Let`s get the easy one out of the way, answer, because England were not good enough, deeper analysis and dissection for a later time. The second and more pleasant question is, why did Spain win. Again that`s quite an easy one, because they were the best team.
Why were Spain the best team, basically because they lifted the trophy and in the record books for all time they will be listed as winners, as they will be for the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships. And therein lies the rub as Will Shakespeare wrote. You see we keep hearing and reading phrases like `England didn`t deserve to win` or `Spain deserved to win` and other variations on the same theme but who the hell ever gets what they deserve, you get what you get, as an individual sportsman or as a team member. And in any sport the name of the game is winning.
You know the phrase that keeps popping up, especially when a manager gets the sack, `we are in a results business.` Exactly, and results are quantifiable, if a team scores more goals than an opponent they win, `seemples`, as that cute Meerkat keeps pontificating in those TV adverts.
Where Spain have the edge, and they mostly have since 2008, is that their simple football is effective and, dare I say, simple because it adheres to the fact that football is a simple game, moving the ball from A to B. The view that it is also pleasing to the eye, for most, is a bonus for those watching, unless you happen to be the opposition.
How sad then that some observers, in the lead up to the final, felt that Spain`s possession football was boring. Thankfully I did at least hear one pundit introduce the word jealousy into the argument when he was asked why the Spanish approach was being dissed. Yes it was boring, for the opposing teams trying to get the ball back after losing it to Iniesta and co. Yes it may have appeared boring for supporters of Italy, Portugal etc etc but, you see, it goes back to that simple fact in football. If your team has possession then they can dictate the game, it`s as simple as that. But when you factor in Spain`s ability to press so quickly and intensely to recover the ball then the game is taken to a higher plain. And as we now know Spain`s reign on that higher plain is something else.
Let`s be honest. In football there is no right or wrong way to play, only what works. There are two sides of the coin, winning and losing. Ask any pro and they would rather win ugly than not win, if they`re really honest. Ask any hundred fans and the vast majority would say winning ugly is still winning.
In an ideal world football teams would want to win in style but the world is not ideal.