La Selección: Spain 1-France 0 Another Lacking Performance

La Furia Roja (literally ‘The Red Fury’) have never looked so not-furious as they currently do under the god-awful leadership of one, Luis Aragonés.

This game I really thought things were going to be different. On The Offside Podcast this week Ian asked me what I thought going into the game. I was for certain that the young Bojan Krkic was going to get his cap for Spain, cementing him as a full-fledged member of La Furia. I was certain that Spain would put out a team that would be somewhat experimental, but still have some attacking flair. I was certain that Spain would comfortably win against France in the lovely southern town of Málaga.

But I was wrong, yet again.

The headline in AS is ‘One Goal, and many doubts’ which just about sums up the feelings of most Spaniards right now when it comes to La Selección. This was billed as being the time to shine for the young Bojan, who became the youngest player to dress for a game in a Spain kit at exactly 17 years, 5 months, 12 days, 18 hours y 13 minutes old at the time of kickoff (thanks to MARCA for that little tid-bit). The culé didn’t even get off the bench, as a dizzy spell kept him out for the duration.

Sure, I can say that Spain won this game. But this game was hardly captivating. It was billed to be Bojan’s coming out party, but rather it turned into a rather boring match. Two teams with nothing to lose, but neither willing to lay it out on the line. Even with forward trio of Anelka, Malouda and Henry the game was nothing than terrible target practice for the three of them. If Henry could have hit the broad side of a barn the game would have been a slaughter.

Luckily the Villareal product Capdevila was able to tuck home the game winner after Iniesta beat Coupet from long range but had his chance cleared off the line by Diarra. The defender jumped on the rebound and put Spain ahead. Iniesta is quickly becoming my rock in the Spanish side, seemingly the only person who seems to give a damn during these games. With that being said, he did seem a step behind tonight. Cesc is pure gold whenever he touches the ball, but even he didn’t impress me in this game, playing a bit flat and lacking his normal flair.

Torres limped off the field around 30 minutes with an injury to his right leg.  I’m sure Rafa Benitez will not be too happy about this.

Does it need mentioning that Spain has the best keeper in the world in Iker Casillas. An absolute beauty of a save against Henry in the 92nd minute sealed the clean sheet for Spain and again showed the reflexes of the Madridista, not to mention the save against Anelka in the first half.  The last 10 minutes of the game were a horror for Spain, as Juanjo and Pablo left a few doubts as to their abilities in the back line.

And speaking of the Spanish kit, what the hell was up with these new uniforms. I thought I was watching Brazil play. Spain always has the red uniforms with the yellow stripes, or the white with the red stripes. Now they are dawning some sort of faded yellow number that had commentators wondering what team they were cheering on.

With two teams that have as much talent as Spain and France,  they put on a game lacking brilliance and ingenuity. Both teams today waited for the other to screw up, but when you play defending football, those opportunities never come.

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