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June 14, 2014

World Cup blogging, day 3: Why Spain debacle may portend good fortune for South America

by Dan Rodriguez

Little to add to the commentary about the Spain-Netherlands clash yesterday.  Masterful offense and defending by the Dutch.  Silva, Ramos, and Costa AWOL.  This was a second half of total destruction.  (The first half most notable for a sublime Dutch header, truly one of the best goals you will ever see).

Intriguing to me is how Spain’s cautious, slow-to-the-ball, spread attack is tailor made for beat-downs by fast, foot-forward squads from Latin America.  Look at Chile’s attacking, especially when the match result was in doubt, versus Australia.  And imagine a reenergized Brazil and a Messi-led Argentina.  Uruguay and Columbia, too, look very well-matched against a Spain that was not only lackluster in execution, but seemed determinedly slow on the attack.  Announcers speculated that the problem might have been the sheer fact of age and fatigue.  I wonder whether there is a more tactical issue, and that is a South American style that will reward fast, aggressive attacking over the kind of methodical approach that furthered the ambitions of Spain most notably, but also Germany, Italy, and France in their dominating two-decade runs.

Think about this:  No European team has won a World Cup on South American soil.  Perhaps Spain’s beat-down provides a window into why this is so.

Postscript:  Contrary evidence, of course, is provided by the amazing Dutch.  Yes indeed.  We may not know for a few days more how truly competitive is this squad.  But, meanwhile, let’s give credit where credit is due.  This was quite a performance.

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