Australia 0 Spain 3: Three talking points as Liverpool star shines
Australia 0 Spain 3: Three talking points as Vicente Del Bosque's finally win in Brazil
Del Bosque strangely opts for experience in dead rubber
Amid evidence of unrest within the camp (Cesc Fabregas’s perceived lack of effort in training), Vicente del Bosque selected a mixed XI for what could be his final game in charge of his country. In a match which had no importance as Spain were already out of the World Cup, a blend of youth and experience was chosen to get past a stubborn Australia team. Pepe Reina, the reliable understudy, was given a deserved opportunity to taste the action in place of Iker Casillas, although had David De Gea not been injured he might have been forced to wait on the bench. At the back, the trusted Raul Albiol was preferred to Javi Martinez, a youngster who looked to be primed for the centre-back position in previous games. Another chance to prove himself would have been wise, but del Bosque also chose Juanfran at right-back, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and David Villa instead of younger options. If del Bosque wanted to give those guys one final go on the biggest stage, why not as substitutes instead of handing the experience to those who need it most?
Thanks for the memories
It is almost certainly the end of an era for Spain, but what period it has been.! They have become the most successful national side ever with their spell of three trophies in six years, a feat that will not be repeated for many years you would think. The likes of Casillas, Xavi, Villa, Torres, Alonso, Juanfran and Raul Albiol may never return to a World Cup again, a real shame considering their success in years gone by. This was not the ending any of those players deserved, but they can at least reflect on an international career filled with success. As for Australia, they say goodbye to two top talents in Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano, guys who have made World Cup history for their fans Down Under. The departing men for la Roja may have set the world alight with their skills and goals, but Australia’s two heroes have arguably had a similar effect on the sport in their part of the world.
Spain are at a crossroads in terms of their style
The men who brought tiki-taka to the biggest stage are likely to depart from the Spanish national team, leaving a side looking for a new way to conquer world football once again. Xavi and Alonso, two of the best passers the modern game has seen, could be on their way out of the Spanish squad, and the manager must decide whether to continue with possession football or craft a new way to win. Direct, ranging passes up to Diego Costa plainly failed to work in the two games previously, but with the striker forming a new generation, will Spain persist? Do they have the personnel to support this system? The soonest possible answer will probably come as Barcelona begin the new season under Luis Enrique. A look at their team in August will show how many Spanish players are playing for them next season, and if there are many then Barca’s brand of possession football could continue to influence Spain. If not, then they will have to search for a new identity, surely beginning with the latest batch of youngsters.