Spain showed they were the best in the world at the World Cup almost a year ago now, and yesterday they showed why they would dominate the sport for years to come after a dominant display against England’s U21s.
Spain took the lead in the first half through a decidedly controversial yet deserved lead on the 14th minute. Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera managed to come in at the far post to head/handball it into the net from point-blank range. The English defenders were looking distraught at that point, with stars such as Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson wanting to use this tournament to justify their price tags.
However, the Spanish under 21s indeed showed a very similar aura of invincibility in the middle of the ball park, with Herrera, Thiago and Javi Martinez put on a show worthy of that being a Xavi-Iniesta-Busquets performance in the middle of midfield.
Put it this way, if Barcelona’s drubbing of Manchester United was dominant, this was about twice that amount the dominance minus the goals. Spain were practically running rings around the English Under 21s as if they were like school boys at the park, and as the term goes: Spain played them out of the park.
England managed to score in pretty controversial fashion as well, scoring late on in the 88th minute, with Danny Welbeck being played onside when replays showed that he was slightly offside. But nonetheless, he got behind La Furia Roja’s back four and managed a very cool finish.
De Gea managed another impressive performance to show exactly why so many teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal to name a few want him to be their long term number one, with several inspiring saves to prevent an equalizer for the young lions.
Liverpool fans will certainly hope that they can see more of Henderson in England’s next few matches, as although his technical game was sound today, Herrera, Thiago and Martinez absolutely dominated that midfield and didn’t give England time to dictate the game, so he was definitely restricted quite a bit today.
Spain indeed dominated possession-wise, but they do lack one crucial quality: ruthlessness.
Spain U21s 1-1 England U21s : Parity only in the scoreline