Blog: Spain’s Defeat Lead To Pure Shenanigans
Ben Fawcett considers the spark that ignited this World Cup...
This has been an incredible World Cup and I’m sure there will be very few arguments against it being one of the best international tournaments of all time. Since the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, the quality on show has elevated with every final whistle. With top teams like Italy, England, Portugal and even world champions Spain not making it out of the group stages, it’s apparent that the quality brought to Brazil has been of a standard unprecedented and unlike any other seen on the greatest stage.
Although the quality has not wavered since the first whistle was blown, I do believe there was one Hollywood moment that truly shaped the standard of this summer’s World Cup. The 5-1 annihilation of World and European champions Spain at the hands of the Netherlands seemed to light a fire under every team, player and fan, and sent out an inspirational message that anybody can get it at any time.
Holland are not an international side to scoff at, obviously, and are in fact, as the tournament progresses, one of the heavy favorites for the overall prize, however, their embarrassment of Spain on day two highlighted that status is not enough to warrant victory and that without dedication, passion and as was highlighted by Robin van Persie’s stunning header. Put everything on the line, because when one person is willing to do that, then their opposition is is vulnerable. That’s what it takes.
The fantastic tournaments enjoyed by the central and southern American representatives in Brazil show that the right combination of passion, togetherness and freedom, with a sprinkling of star quality, can completely turn the game on it’s head and can turn a team from a 90 minute attraction of spontaneity, to a world beating, elite football entity, as is evident by the huge support now thrust upon the likes of Colombia and Costa Rica by the neutral fan.
Colombia have enjoyed the most emphatic rise in the mind of the average fan over the last two weeks, and are a step beyond being considered dark horses and are being strongly considered by many as favourites to triumph over competition hosts Brazil when the two meet in the quarter-finals on Friday.
It would be unenlightened at this point to push one’s chest out and declare who will win this fantastic tournament, but it is not crazy to suggest that the best thing that happened to the World Cup was the dismantling of Spain, the neutral’s favourite, and the waves of terror and optimism that resonated throughout the tournament from their anguished screams. And while the black box from Spain’s wreckage of a campaign will be the perfect memorandum of the day, it may take a few months for it to surface, for now we’ll take solace in the fact that it has reignited international football, which has, for the first time in a generation, recaptured its passion and unpredictability.
Words by Ben Fawcett (@benkeablefaw)