Los españoles son Boring (the Spanish are Boring)

Posted on June 24, 2012

I dashed home from celebrating Oakley’s first win of the cricket season last night so I could watch the aristocrats of French football take on technically gifted media darlings of Spain, a game that apparently had ITV pundits Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and Roberto Martinez purring in the studio. Quite why they insist on having a foreigner I can’t understand on the panel, I just don’t know, perhaps they didn’t realise that Jamie Carragher would struggle so much with complexities of the English language? Spain, courtesy of Florent Malouda not bothering to defend, took an early lead through Alonso, then proceeded to pass the ball sideways and backwards to each other until the referee gave them a penalty in the 88th minute to make it 2-0. Is that entertainment?

I must admit, I didn’t see it all, as I kept falling asleep, on one occasion slowing and comically tipping a bottle of San Miguel in to my lap as I did so, but what I did see was….. Now call me a philistine if you wish, tedium personified. The Spanish are technically brilliant, I can’t deny that, but if my humble little team Reading played like that, I might not bother getting a season ticket. Well I probably would, but hopefully you get my sentiment. You see, the reason that millions of people watch football in England is because it is littered with mistakes, mistimed tackles, thuggery, red cards, abuse on the terraces, pantomime villains, 4-4 scorelines and black humour aplenty. Football is theatre to relieve the masses of the humdrum and pressures of modern living, when a fight breaks out on the pitch, in the dug out or on the terraces, the commentators always say “Oh dear these are scenes we don’t want in our game.” I’m sorry, but yes they are, Eric Cantona leaping in to the stand to Karate kick a brain dead Crystal Palace fan, remains one of my favourite football moments.

When I watched the Spain v France game last night, a game that would have been tempestuous twenty years ago, I really could not see what the point was. It was like watching a spoilt kid gleefully holding a ball up to his bedroom window as his mates waited outside desperate for a kick, before eventually meandering off home for their tea with their heads bowed. The boy in the bedroom never found out whether they were any good or not as they gave up trying to get the ball, just like the pitiful French did last night. If the boys were English, one of them would have lobbed a brick through the window and they would have all ran in the house and tried to get the ball off the little shit who was teasing them. Of course the result would be the same, they would probably leave without the ball, possibly facing criminal charges, but here’s the interesting bit. It would have been far more entertaining trying to get the ball and the little shit in the window would have least been shaken up a bit. The French and Laurent Blanc, so critical of England, didn’t ruffle one Spanish feather and have now gone home to cry in their mother’s laps. Ha ha ha.

Sorry about the analogy, it was the best I could come up with. It is highly unlikely that England will meet Spain in this competition as it will mean being in the final, but Portugal can beat them and if not Portugal, the testosterone fuelled might of the Germany may be able to crush them to oblivion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the player of the tournament Christiano Ronaldo, stepped up another gear and bought the Spanish to their knees? Ronaldo has everything, strength, quick feet, a ferocious shot, towering heading ability and the arrogance of Zidane in his pomp. He possesses everything I love about football. Whilst Xavi and Iniesta may be able to pass the ball to each other for years on end, they just don’t carry the thrilling audacity, skill and the ability to do the outrageous like Ronaldo does, he could win this tournament on his own, just like Maradonna in Mexico ’86. Spain may not have it all their way; I really can’t see the Germans behaving in the same manner of the French.

What really interested me though was the reaction I got on Facebook to a comment I posted saying “Sod the purists, watching Spain is tedious.” It was almost like a coming out parade, the comment was supposed to be a controversial and I expected vilification, but all I got was universal agreement from people who had been watching. The pundits can say what they want about Spain, but they are not a modern day Brazil, dazzling the world with outrageous skill, they are not Argentina with their flawed genius sitting on the edge of anarchy, they are not Germany with their cold blooded efficiency and devastating rapier like finishing, they are not even England with their renown ability to heroically fail at the final hurdle as their technical failings and lack of guile are finally exposed in tragic circumstances. No, they are Spain; let’s shout it from the rooftops.


I will leave you with a video that shows what I love about football.


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