Euro 2012: Why Defending Champ Spain Will Fall Short of International Glory
Spain would be a clear favorite to win its third straight major tournament if not for one thing.
The Spaniards got off to a shaky start in the tournament by grabbing "only" a draw against Italy, but they are still a large favorite to make it to the finals of Euro 2012.
Their likely opponent in the championship, however, is Germany, which has already run over Portugal and Netherlands, two top 10 teams in the world.
Who is your favorite to win the tournament?
What's scary is that Germany isn't even really getting the respect it deserves for those wins. People are talking like the Germans didn't just easily beat two of the best teams in the world and aren't on their way to sweeping the Group of Death.
However, don't think for a second I'm overlooking Spain, the No. 1-ranked team in the world.
It's not like La Roja is just going to roll over should it meet Germany in the final. It's just a matter of how the Spanish and Germans will match up with each other and how those matchups mostly benefit Germany.
Spain's main problem is in the back.
With Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and David Silva, Spain has easily the best midfield in the world and, as a result, will be able to control the ball for about 65 percent of the game.
However, the Spaniards are still susceptible in their own half. Sergio Ramos made multiple mistakes against Italy, Arbeloa made some clumsy challenges and Jordi Alba was also inconsistent.
The Spaniards would have given up two goals if it weren't for Mario Balotelli forgetting he was actually in the middle of a football match and actually all alone with just the keeper in front of him.
No matter how well Spain controls the ball, it will have to be able to defend when it matters, especially against Germany and its slew of attackers.
Mario Gomez, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and others will all be able to make Spain pay if they get the opportunity. Should Spain play in this hypothetical matchup like it did against Italy, there's no question that Germany will blast the Spanish for multiple goals.
What is your bigger concern for Spain?
Of course, Germany's defense isn't perfect, either. It certainly has holes in the back, but can Spain, without a true striker not named Fernando, score enough goals without David Villa?
Or can Torres himself return to form in quick fashion?
I would be surprised if Spain didn't make it back to the finals at Euro 2012, but its multiple question marks both in the front and at the back combined with a likely matchup with Germany mean I certainly would be surprised if La Roja won the thing.
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