Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughNot quite the Armada - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Not quite the Armada - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Not quite the Armada

Surprise, surprise, Spain are through to the quarter finals of Euro 2012, having qualified as group winners. They have amassed 7 points, but, perhaps ominously, they haven’t played that well in 2 of the games, the Ireland game being the exception.

Last night Spain were playing against Croatia, the score was 0-0 and Italy were beating the Irish. The Croats knew they needed a goal to, potentially, send them through and Spain out. 

The 2nd half was well underway, when Luka Modric found himself in space and clipped a perfectly executed cross with the outside of his boot to the head of Ivan Rakitic, who himself was in acres of space, but he could only divert his header straight at Iker Casillas.

That was the chance, Croatia continued to press but were undone by, arguably, the best pass of the tournament from Cesc Fabregas. Andres Iniesta took it down and gave Jesus Navas the easiest of tap ins.

The World and European Champions could easily have been sent home yesterday evening, indeed Vicente Del Bosque has since admitted that his side were poor.

They now head into the knock out phase with a game against the group D runners up, probably England or Ukraine. Whichever of these sides it is, they can take heart from the plucky Croats.

Without Carles Puyol, Spain miss the battle hardened warrior at the heart of the defence, they are then without one of the best right backs in the world, Sergio Ramos, who is shifted in to cover at centre half. He is replaced on the right by Jordi Alba, who is prone to forgetting that he is a full back rather than a winger.

Gerard Pique remains in defence but he is not the ball playing, composed, rock that he once was. He has been injured and has been lacking in concentration, so much so that Javier Mascherano found himself at centre back for Barcelona for many vital games last season.

Goals win games, strikers score goals, you see the link? Well, Del Bosque has gone without a striker in 2 matches, he started without one against Italy and then took Fernando Torres off on the hour against Croatia and replaced him with a winger.

Neither Alvaro Negredo or Fernando Llorente has played for Spain in Poland and Ukraine, this combined with Fernando Torres’ lack of a match action suggests that the Vicente Del Bosque isn’t entirely confident in any of his strikers.

This Seleccion outfit is more fallible than the sides that lined up in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup

Below is a reminder of Andres Iniesta’s winner against the Netherlands in Johannesburg.