It was wonderful to see how an English team that stuck to their commitment to perform as a team and fight for a result could actually produce a result.
Stick to your guns, play with determination and resolution and you can even shake the might world champions Spain. Yes the English progressively shut down the opportunities and persistently closed the doors on the Spanish attack throughout a slow and somewhat boring game at times. However it would seem that England have understood on this occasion that the only way to challenge a team like the Spaniards is to take on the challenge bit by bit.
While that may not produce a swiftly paced, exciting game, you do have to admit that it is the result that counts. Confidence is built in little steps and I really do believe that many of the players in the English ranks can take heart from their performance on the field tonight.
Ok it was a friendly match and many would say that Spain don’t put effort to games that are not with a specific goal in mind, but one should remember that Spain have a proud record of not having been beaten in competitive football since the start of the UEFA European Championship a number of years ago. They do not want to loose that reputation, especially at the hands of England. Ok they have lost two other friendly matches which gives credence to the idea that they don’t mind loosing in a non championship match, but consider for a moment the reaction of the press to such a loss.
It is the worry with such a result, that the press will jump on the bandwagon as they always seem to do, but I do feel that England can take heart from their performance. Strong presence of mind, and dogged determination from the likes of Cole, Lampard, Milner and others gave England an edge from which to frustrate the Spanish team.
It was clear to see the frustration mounting among the Spanish players clearly displayed in the cynical and appalling play of Sergio Ramos. A body check on Walcot should have resulted in a carding, but it was not until later that the Spanish theatrical professional got his just deserts and was quickly pulled off the field moments later. While the experience of the front line of the Spanish team is hard to shake, I think Ramos’s behaviour only goes to show that Spain do not like to loose. Given enough time to systematically thwart their efforts, it is possible to shake even teams like the mighty world champions.
Just maybe we can take heart in the slow building of a team that can pull something a little bit special out of the box. I have believed for a long time that England has placed far too much importance on the likes of Gerard, Rooney, Terry and the big names of our selection pool. It is refreshing to see some new talent on the field and I honestly feel that it is high time that we begin to look to tomorrow’s players for the results we all dream of in the future.