The period between 2008 and 2012 is widely regarded as the most successful era in the history of Spanish football.
During this time, the Spanish national team achieved a remarkable feat winning three consecutive major international tournaments. The UEFA Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the UEFA Euro 2012.
This dominant run firmly established Spain as arguably the greatest international dynasty in football history. This Wednesday, we will explore the reasons behind Spain’s success and the legacy that they have left behind.
Spain’s Golden Generation
Spain were blessed with an abundance of individual talent across throughout the entire squad. The team’s defense was rock solid, anchored by the likes of Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol. Whilst the forward line was led by Villa and Torres. But the area where their depth truly excelled was in the midfield.
The Spanish midfield was without a doubt the best in the world, with players who were comfortable in possession and able to control the tempo of games. The ability to rotate this midfield without their being any drop in quality was one of Spain’s greatest assets.
Xavi and Iniesta often operated as the heart of the midfield keeping big names like David Silva and Juan Mata out of the starting line up. The midfield options were so good that at times midfielders would have to operate as wingers for added technical security in the final third.
The birth of Tiki Taka
On top of their amazing quality, Spain’s “tiki-taka” style of play was a massive factor in their success story from 2008 to 2012. The revolutionary style of play was characterised by a possession-based game that focused on quick, short passes and movement off the ball.
The team’s midfielders were the engine of the system, consistently maintaining possession and creating chances for their teammates. This style was not only aesthetically pleasing to watch, but also highly effective, as the team was able to dominate possession and control games from start to finish.
Euro 2008: Spain’s first taste of victory
Following a disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign, Spain became the centre of attention during the 2008 Euro’s. The pressure accumulated even further when manager, Luis Aragones, made a huge decision not to call up star man Raul for the upcoming tournament.
However, Raul’s goals would not be missed as David Villa stepped up for his nation winning the golden boot with 4 goals. Spain went on to win the tournament without conceding a single goal in the knockout stages.
A Historic Triumph in the 2010 World Cup
Spain’s 2010 World Cup victory was a historic moment for the team and the country. After years of near misses, Spain finally won their first World Cup in fashion style.
For the second major tournament in a row, Spain would not concede a single goal throughout the knockout stages. Whilst also conceding only 2 goals throughout the entirety of the competition.
Spain would beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final thanks to a 116th minute goal from Iniesta. The win cemented the legacy of one of the greatest national teams in history, whose success was built on a foundation of individual talent, teamwork, and a unique style of play.
La Roja secure Third International Title
Spain’s 2012 Euro’s victory would see the nation win their second consecutive Euros title in fashionable style.
For the third time La Roja would not concede any goals during the knockout stages. And in the process, they would humiliate bitter rivals Italy 4-0 in the final.
This historic victory meant that Spain would become the first nation in football history to win 3 consecutive international titles.
In the space of 4 years the nation of Spain grew from an inferior nation into an international powerhouse.
Spain’s dominance was driven by a combination of factors such as talented players, visionary coaches, and a strong emphasis on developing the team’s playing philosophy.
Setting records and revolutionising the game on the biggest stages in football.
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