Spain vs. Italy: Spain's Underrated Defense Biggest Reason for Euro 2012 Success

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 2, 2012

KIEV, UKRAINE - JULY 01:  Iker Casillas (C) of Spain lifts the trophy as he celebrates with team-mates following victory in the UEFA EURO 2012 final match between Spain and Italy at the Olympic Stadium on July 1, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Spain's four goals in the Euro 2012 final versus Italy were impressive, but their defense throughout the tournament was the true mark of their greatness.

Against the best teams Europe has to offer, Spain surrendered only one goal throughout Euro 2012.

That was as amazing as the 12 goals the team scored—which, it should be noted, was accomplished without all-time leading scorer David Villa.

Italy certainly wasn’t one of the most powerful and dangerous offensive attacks they’d faced, but they had scored the only goal against Spain in the tournament. Because of that, there was no let-up. 

Spain surrendered the one goal in the group play portion of the event to Italy on June 10. The match ended in a draw, and it was the only blemish on Spain’s record during Euro 2012.

Spain’s head coach, Vicente Del Bosque, has the freedom to try the various different attacking formations and strategies. This is made possible by the reliability and potency of Spain’s midfielders.

It allowed Fernando Torres (the Golden Boot winner), Xabi Alonso and other attackers to play all-out and aggressively. Even Spain’s keeper Iker Casillas’ job has been made much easier.

Throughout Euro 2012, Casillas was rarely challenged. Teams were simply thwarted before they could get in range to attempt quality shots against him.

So while Spain’s great offensive players—Torres, Alonso and Silva—get their due, it’s important to understand that without the discipline and relentless pursuit of the opposition’s attackers, the dominant performance against Italy wouldn’t have been possible.

On a grander scale, Spain would not be celebrating consecutive Euro cup titles. 


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