Euro Cup 2012 Aftermath

Soccer fans had to be happy with the Euro 2012 tournament. The level of play was excellent and we may be watching one of the greatest all-time dynasties in action. Spain’s Tiki-Taka style was on full display throughout the tournament. Any doubts about their lack of dominating play were put to rest with a 4-0 thrashing of a resurgent Italian side in the final. The Italians were playing excellent football, but they ran into a Spanish side that had even more talent and was ready to rise to the occasion.

Many think that Spanish dominance won’t end here. With an unprecedented three straight major tournament victories, Spain is now going for number four with the 2012 World Cup two years from now in Brazil, and many experts think they can do it. It would be a huge accomplishment, as it would be unprecedented for a European team to win a World Cup in South America. No South American team has ever won a World Cup in Europe, so location matters.

It will be interesting to see if Spain can break this streak as well. If they do, coupled with their recent string of success, there will be nobody arguing which is the best soccer dynasty ever. Spain also has one built-in advantage – the Spanish heritage of many South American. Of course that doesn’t apply to Brazil where Portuguese is spoken, but we should expect many Spanish-speaking South Americans rooting for Spain as their number two choice following their home country. This could galvanize the Spanish side and give them the extra motivation needed to pull off this accomplishment.

We can expect to see the fruits of this recent winning streak everywhere. Memorabilia and Spanish jerseys are flying of the shelves all over the world. Readers can join in and get huge discounts on soccer merchandise. We can expect Spanish fans to invade Brazil two year from now, but how many fans from South America will also be wearing Spanish jerseys? That will be very interesting to watch. If Spain can turn their Brazilian adventure into a mini-home crowd advantage, they might be unbeatable.

Of course there will be many other national teams ready to take on the mighty Spain. The home Brazilian side will be geared up to win the World Cup in their home country. Argentina is always a force on the word stage as well, and all of the South American teams will have some advantage.

As for the other European countries, we can always expect several of them to emerge as real threats. Germany always looks strong, and despite their continued frustrations against Italy in major tournaments, you can’t ever count them out. As for the Italians, they showed that they are resurgent again, and Mario Balotelli is the ultimate wild card. He’s only 21 years old now, and the sky is the limit with his talent. If he matures and works harder after the embarrassing loss against Spain, then the Italian side can be a real threat as well.

It’s been fun to see the renewed interest in these tournaments since ESPN started making the World Cup and the Euro Cup featured programming, so expect plenty of hype and interest as we watch Spain go for the four-peat.

Spain completes epic run

With Spain’s 4-0 thrashing of Italy to win the Euro 2012 tournament, many are starting to call Spain the greatest national side ever after winning three major tournaments in a row.

Great win for Italy

Mario Balotelli’s first truly brilliant evening of Euro 2012 football could not have come at a better time. Italy manhandled Germany behind Super Mario’s dominant performance.

Zidane praises Germany’s Mat Hummels

Earlier this week, Zinedine Zidane praised Germany’s Mat Hummels as “the only difference maker” in the Euro 2012 tourney thus far. That’s high praise indeed, coming from probably the best player the world has seen in the last 20 years.

Hummels, a brilliant defender whose play summons memories of Italy’s Alessandro Nesta, has been brilliant all tournament long and is a major reason Germany have a good shot at winning the tournament.

Greece moves onto round 2

In 2004, the Greek national team won the European Cup with a defensive minded squad.   At that time, many pointed out that the other factor in Greece’s favor was the fact that none of Greece’s players were subjected to the physical demands of the European season which for most star players means a difficult regular season combined with the rigors of the Champions League tournament.   By the time June rolls around, many of Europe’s best players are worn down.

With fresher players and a good strategy, Greece swept the 2004 title.

Could history be repeating itself in 2012?  Thanks to an impressive win against a very tough Russian squad, Greece has arrived to the elimination round of Euro 2012 so they find themselves 2 wins away from having a chance to once again be the champions of Europe.