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As big a winner as Brazil are, Spain must be considered losers—even if they did make another international final. They showed they were beatable and susceptible to quick counterattacks—something that will have the likes of Brazil and Germany licking their lips ahead of the World Cup.
For all the dominance of Brazil, the reality is that Spain could very easily have made it a much closer final. They had a handball in the box that wasn't called, a shot saved off the line by David Luiz and a penalty miss by Sergio Ramos—all of which could, in theory, have made the scoreline 3-3.
However, at the same time, they lost to a better team, and it wasn't even close. Brazil were simply too good, and it showed over the course of 90 minutes.
One must wonder what the impact of losing Xabi Alonso was for Spain.
Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe noted earlier in the competition that the absence of Alonso (who was ruled out of the tournament due to injury) had a profound impact on La Roja's midfield, with the central corridor taking on an entirely different shape and therefore producing varying effects.
"Without Alonso deep in midfield with Sergio Busquets, Spain are more fluent than ever. ... No longer are they boring grinders, they're pure entertainers."
Their inability to turn possession into attacking chances showed in the final, and one can only wonder how different the result would have been in Vicente Del Bosque's side had they had their full attacking complement. Not to make excuses—just to note that the defending world champions were not at full strength.
It'll be fascinating to see how Alonso's presence (and likely change in midfield dynamic back to their conventional tactics) will affect Spain in Brazil next year.