The Punter: Is this Spain team the all-time No.1?
Published 05/07/2012 | 08:00
Spain the greatest team of all time? All a matter of debate as comparisons will always be made with the Brazil sides of 1958 and 1970. The great Hungarian side of 1953 can't come into the equation as they failed to win a major tournament but another nation that does, is Uruguay the Olympic winners in 1924, 1928 and the first World Cup two years later.
Spain are currently the standard bearers of the beautiful game, although it would have been a different story if Portugal had not messed up the penalty shootout in the semi-finals.
In becoming the first European nation to win three consecutive major tournaments, they have set numerous records in terms of ball possession, conceding fewest goals and biggest win in a tournament final.
Their display especially in the first-half in Sunday's 4-0 defeat of Italy, was sublime. On the canvas of a football field, they are masters of football art.
The Spanish way has brought a new dimension to the game, questioning the need for strikers, although ironically it was Spain's own Fernando Torres who took the Golden Boot.
Spain are the first Europeans to win a World Cup outside their own continent and if they are triumphant in Brazil two years hence, there'll be no doubt about their standing in terms of the pyramid of all-time greats. They alone would occupy the pinnacle.
Two years is a long time in a player's career and several of the current Spanish squad will be well into their 30s. But there will be others coming through and so 6/1 for another success, this time in Rio de Janeiro, is not to be sniffed at.
It won't be easy against the host nation (7/2) and the likes of Argentina (6/1) with Lionel Messi on board, but it's Spain who call the tune in world football and where better to consolidate that than on the territory of the past masters.