Editorial: Soccer mojo in Euro 2012
Paper Edition | Page: 6
Thank you Spain for restoring our faith in the Beautiful Game. The 4-0 victory over Italy in the Euro 2012 soccer final in Kiev proved to be the climax everyone had hoped for, defying doubts that had been expressed before the Sunday final.
Spain’s famous “tiki-taka” short passes to maximize possession may have been key to bring Spain to the final, but critics said that Vicente del Bosque’s charge had virtually taken all the fun and excitement from the match. They frustrated opponents as well as the spectators around the world who found most of Spain’s matches simply dull to watch.
The anticlimax to Spain’s performance happened in their semifinal goalless draw with Portugal and they were fortunate to win the penalty shootout. Italy were no less culpable for resorting to defensive tactics for much of the tournament, but they promised an exciting final when they beat Germany 2-1 in the semifinal by playing an attacking game.
We saw something of Spain on Sunday that we had not seen throughout the tournament: a “tiki-taka” attacking game. They surprised Italy as much as they surprised spectators. No pundits would have predicted the four-goal margin, certainly not against Italy.
Spain rediscovered the soccer mojo on Sunday and made it worthwhile for millions of Indonesians to stay up late to watch the final. Now that we can all go back to our sleeping routine, it is worth recounting what were the major takeaways from the Euro 2012 that made staying up so late at night these past two weeks really worth it.
We learned a lot about sportsmanship, both on the field (there were few red cards issued) and off the field (few incidents of hooliganism). We learned how the soccer authorities stamped out racism on and off the field. We found that an economic downturn does not affect a nation’s soccer. Both finalists are among the worst economic performers in Europe.
In the end, it is the quality of the matches that Euro 2012 would be most remembered. Gracias to Spain and Italy for providing such an entertaining and memorable final.