The night of June 30 2013, is one fans of the beautiful game of football won’t forget in a hurry. Thousands at the Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janiero and billions more worldwide witnessed the disambiguation and totally annihilation of the best team in the world for almost half a decade. We all watched spellbound and in total awe the demystification of the most dominant football force in recent history, La Furia Roja in the hands of the younger and fresher Samba boys of Brazil by a whopping 3-0 score line.
It was the beauty of Samba over the fervour of flaming Flamenco. The Spanish game had the backseat while the Seleҫão took the floor and we loved it. Nearly the same assembly of Spanish players that stopped the flow of the efficient and disciplined Mannschaft of Germany, the same ones that frustrated the masters of total football, the Oranje of Holland, the same team that ripped the soul out of the courageous and resolute Azzurris of Italy. Yes, that same team of mini-gods of football were ripped soul from body in the CONFED Cup finale, the only trophy missing in their enviable collection of accolades.
Spain’s unbeaten run of 28 games between 2009 and 2013 is second only to Brazil’s 33 that held sway between 1993 and 1998 before they capitulated to Les Bleus of France in the World Cup 1998 final. Can we on the basis of what we witnessed say we’ve seen the end of a dynasty and reign of the best Spanish team ever? Are La Furia Roja done? Is this the end for the men that wowed fans and foes alike over a half a decade claiming Euro 2008 and 2012 and 2010 World Cup in the same period of time? Not quite and here are a few reasons why they might bounce back like the Indian rubber ball.
CONFED CUP 2013 THOUGH COMPETITIVE WAS A DRESS REHEARSAL
Though a competitive tourney, the CONFED Cup 2013 is a mere rehearsal to the World Cup itself. It’s an opportunity for the host to test their preparedness of facilities and how much work they’ve done on their team. The Brazilians took the chance to test their rebuilt team of youngsters against the Spaniards with national pride at the back of their minds, for La Furia Roja, it’s a chance to test their own team against another potential contender for their title. The Spaniards needed to know where they ranked alongside the Brazilians and it’s a good thing they met the penultimate year to the World Cup itself. Losing the CONFED Cup maybe a blow to their collective pride but it’s not a bad thing in its entirety, the Brazilians helped reveal their soft under-belly to them, the weakness the Spanish themselves aren’t anticipating. To be the best, you have to beat the best, the Spaniards now know they have a journey ahead of themselves to claiming to be the best. The Brazilians have assumed utmost priority in their preparations from now and that’s not a bad thing…it’s a good sign.
NO WINNER OF THE CONFED CUP HAD GONE ON TO WIN THE WORLD CUP
As far as winning the CONFED Cup is concerned, the Spaniards have little to worry about. No winner of the CONFED Cup had gone on to win the World Cup the following year. Previous winners of the abridged tourney, Brazil in 1997, 2005 and 2009 and the French in 2001 didn’t win the biggest global fiesta the following year. History hasn’t been kind fair to the winners of the CONFED Cup and the Brazilians themselves know this (on two occasions). Spain crashed out in the semi-finals of CONFED Cup 2009 but still came back to win the World Cup in South-Africa 2010. This one could not be any different. The Brazilians may have won but they only showed the Spanish another way not to lose when next they meet top-class opposition. The loss to Brazil is a rare chance to fix the chink in their armour. It’s not too much of a big deal. The Spaniards have only lost a battle, they could yet win the war.
IT’S TIME THEY REJIGGED THEIR ALL TOO FAMILIAR GAME PLAY
Le Bron James and the Miami Heat won the 2013 NBA Championship after losing the first game. In fact, they won most of the series coming from behind. Losing isn’t totally bad, it helps expose inherent weaknesses the team didn’t know existed, it’s accepting defeat that’s the problem. The Spaniards have been playing with a globally familiar squad that revolves around the same 14-16 players under 2 managers, Luis Aragones and Vincente Del Bosque. The football world is very familiar with the starting eleven and it’s only a matter of time before someone found them out. The team needs a change, a breath of fresh air, modification of tactics and game play. They don’t necessarily need a total overhaul, just where they’re weak and also devising a plan B. Del Bosque stressed that the Eagles ruffed his team up, they hardly had time to recover before the Italians stretched them for 120 minutes and had to face a fresher opponent in the Seleҫão. Their game had a familiar ring to it and it’s only a matter of time before someone tore them up. It was their time to taste defeat. It’s not rocket science. Real Madrid defender, Alvaro Arbeloa, may be the weakest link in the defense and should be replaced. Gerard Pique needs a solid partner and Fernando Torres needs to recapture big game form. Players like Negredo and Michu should be given a chance also. If the Spanish don’t make changes now, they would be sitting ducks to teams like Germany, Holland and Argentina when the World Cup takes off next year.
The Brazilians did a yeoman’s job of exposing the Spanish team’s weaknesses. That won’t escape Vicente Del Bosque’s keen and discerning mind, the manager knows there’s a lot to do now and they would recover from the setback. Let no one be fooled that the Spanish are done; rather this may just be the beginning of their dominance once they found a way out of their present predicament. The Brazilians may just have celebrated too early; the real war may have just begun.
That’s my take, what do you think?
My name is Olumide Ogungbemi (@rednym) and I rep Manchester United.