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  • Tournament in review: Spain - Another lacklustre showing from La Furia Roja

Tournament in review: Spain - Another lacklustre showing from La Furia Roja

Dean Smith in Teams 7 Jul 2016
  • Spain will be disappointed in their performance at this summer's European Championships
  • La Furia Roja had won the last two tournaments in this competition but couldn't make it past last 16
Spain's goalkeeper David De Gea (Getty Images)

Having come into the European Championships looking for a third straight win in the competition, Spain will have been disappointed to go no further than the Round of 16 at this summer's tournament.

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Summary: Spain's golden age well and truly over

To win three consecutive major tournaments takes some doing. Having announced themselves as the best team in the world in 2008 with a European Championship win, they then confirmed that with a World Cup win in 2010 and another Euros win in 2012, before crashing and burning in 2014 as the likes of David Villa and Xavi called time on their international careers.

Vincent del Bosque was offered the chance to oversee the transition following that poor display in South America but it's clear that a change is needed now in the Spanish national side. Opening wins over Czech Republic and Turkey were deserved but complacent displays against Croatia and Italy saw them on the end of deserved but unacceptable defeats.


Best player: Andres Iniesta 
Vincent del Bosque has had time called on his Spain career (Getty Images)


Alvaro Morata may have grabbed the headlines with his three goals in the group stages, but unsurprisingly it was once again Andres Iniesta who made Spain tick in the middle of the park. The Barcelona man has been one of the best midfielders on the planet over the last 10 years or so and his energy and vision provided the pivot on which Spain were able to attack in the group stages.

Even in the defeat to Croatia, Iniesta was arguably the best player on the pitch in the first half and with a new breed of youngsters likely to come through under the next head coach of the Spanish side, Iniesta may be key for the next one of two tournaments in being the experienced head who helps blood in a group of fresh young talent. 

Worst player: David de Gea 

It may seem harsh to nominate David de Gea as Spain's 'worst player in the tournament', given that he did make a couple of decent saves. But the fact that the Manchester United goalkeeper even started above the legendary Iker Casillas was enough to raise eyebrows among supporters and pundits alike as there were reports of a rift in the Spanish camp, with Casillas reportedly treating Del Bosque and his coaching staff with a degree of arrogance.

Although the 25 year old stopper did make a few decent saves, he was also at fault for a few vital goals in the tournament. He was beaten at his near post by Croatian winger Ivan Perisic in the defeat that saw them lose out on top spot in the group stages and Italy's opening goal came from De Gea fumbling a low free-kick into the path of the onrushing Giorgio Chiellini.

Where next for Spain? 

The Spanish national side are already on the look-out for a new manager as Vincent del Bosque stepped down from the position following two disappointing tournament performances. As the only manager to ever win the nation a World Cup trophy, he will no doubt go down in Spanish footballing folklore, but now it's time for something new for Spain.

With Andres Iniesta now 32 and Xavi long gone in terms of international football, maybe a complete change of identity is needed for Spain. The slick, possession football that has worked so well for La Furia Roja in the past isn't exactly old hack now, but more success has been had with more direct approaches both in club and international football in recent years. Maybe it's time for Spain to inject more pace and power into their tactical outlook. 

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Tournament in review: Spain - Another lacklustre showing from La Furia Roja

Having come into the European Championships looking for a third straight win in the competition, Spain will have been disappointed to go no further than the Round of 16 at this summer's tournament.

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