Euro 2012: Why Fernando Torres Will Make or Break Spain's Chances

Ben LeibowitzCorrespondent IIIJune 9, 2012

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 9: Fernando Torres of Spain chats with team mates Andres Iniesta and Juanfran during a UEFA EURO 2012 training session ahead of their Group C match against Italy at the Municipal Stadium on June 9, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

As Spain prepares their Euro 2012 title defense, Fernando Torres, who was named to coach Vicente Del Bosque’s final 23, will be a major X-factor moving forward. Torres has a chance to make or break Spain’s chances, but there are two key factors that will determine the striker’s success.

Overcoming Pressure

Admittedly something that Torres needs to work toward, this is crucial.

After a move from Liverpool to Chelsea 18 months ago—a change that netted Torres £50 million—the striker failed to live up to the hype surrounding the mega-deal.

Torres has scored just 11 goals in 48 appearances since the move, and has fans scratching their heads and wondering where the Torres of old has gone.

Trying to justify a big contract is often what sends athletes into a funk. Athletes start to press in an effort to amaze new fans when, in reality, all they need to do is play for themselves and show the game that earned them such a deal in the first place.

With that said, the pressure of playing for Spain will likely be less magnified than the pressure of playing with Chelsea after Torres’ transfer.

Torres will have the support of his fellow countrymen, as well as a coach who believes in him enough to put him on the roster.

Additionally, Torres’ Chelsea teammate Oriol Romeu has wholeheartedly backed Torres’ value to the team moving forward. “Torres will be a very important player for the national team at the Euros because he is a player with great quality and experience, and these characteristics are very important in a forward,” Romeu said, per The Sun.

No matter how poorly someone has played in the short term, hearing terms of endearment like that has to be uplifting.

Playing For Himself

Despite Spain’s optimism, David Villa—the top scorer at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup—will not be able to play for the club, due to injury.

Losing Villa is a huge blow for Spain, but despite his absence and that of defender Carles Puyol, Spain has still managed to win their last three friendlies.

There’s certainly enough talent available for Del Bosque to overcome those losses to key players, but each player will have to understand his role and play it well.

If Torres plays with the intention of replacing Villa, instead of just playing his style and letting the game come to him, that could be a major negative for Spain moving forward.

Del Bosque should have no trouble getting the best out of his players, including Torres, moving forward. If Torres can play for himself and overlook the pressure on his shoulders, Spain will be a contender to defend their title.