Spain vs. Portugal: Ball Control Proves Pivotal to La Furia Roja's Greatness
The Spanish have locked a spot in the 2012 Euro title match in dominating fashion: passing and controlling the ball to an opponent's detriment.
Spain's semifinals victory over Portugal in the championship came on penalty kicks after a scoreless 120 minutes, which was exactly the type of soccer this team is accustomed to playing. In the match, Spain held the ball 57 percent of the time, seldom gave up the ball and had Andres Iniesta serving as the imposing attacker with four shots.
Yet, the most telling statistic was that Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas had no saves in the match.
Since their World Cup run in 2012, No. 1 ranked Spain have been dominating opponents with mistake-free soccer and prowess passing the ball about the pitch. Every pass made goes to the open man—whether it's toward or away from their goal. As a result, teams are unable to get into their proper rhythm.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal came into the semifinals of the Euro Cup scoring a plethora of goals. The six goals scored were the third most in the tournament heading into the match. Ronaldo led the charge with three goals, which also happened to be the last three scored for the Portuguese.
However, as precise as they had been, it was the ability of La Furia Roja to move the soccer ball about the field with masterful precision that left Portugal helpless offensively. As in any sport, failing to have possession in a match is a momentum breaker, which is exactly what these Spanish pride themselves on.
They passed Portugal to death in the semifinals match and will undoubtedly bring that same game to Italy in the final. Their so-called "boring" style of play has won them a World Cup, and has them in the final of the 2012 European Championship. It has worked wonders for this Spanish side, and they will look to continue making history with this style of play going forward.
Hate them or love them, they are the team shining bright atop the world.
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