5 Reasons Why Spain Won't Win Euro 2012
In December 2011 David Villa broke his leg in the Club World Cup with Barcelona, and he has never really recovered from that, and there are serious doubts about him for Euro 2012.
Villa has been the best striker in La Liga for the past 6 seasons, and has been top scorer for both Euro 2008 and the World Cup in 2010, and is Spain's top scorer in history.
So without him, it's safe to say that Spain would not have the killer edge, the final touch, that their intricate passing needs.
Xavi is arguably the most technically gifted player Spain have ever produced; he is Spain's crucial midfield component, imposing a rhythm, a pace and a style on the play of the best national and club side in the world, in a way that no-one else in the world can hope to.
However he is now 32 and it looks like age might be catching up with him. He has barely had a rest for 4 years and it's beginning to show, and he suffers from a constant calf injury that has him in pain after every game. It's a worry and one that will have to be carefully managed to get the best out of him at Euro 2012.
Yes, this probably sounds ridiculous given that Spain's midfield features Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva, but Vicente Del Bosque, the manager, may have to drop one of Busquets and Alonso.
Currently they play with two holding midfielders, but that means pushing Xavi further forward, where he is less comfortable and influential, and also means one position fewer for a playmaker; Fabregas or Silva.
For the 2010 World Cup Fabregas was mainly used as an impact substitute which is not enough for a player of his quality so Del Bosque has a decision to make.
Real Madrid and Barcelona both got to the Champions League Semi-Finals, while 3 Spanish clubs, Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Atletico Madrid got to the Europa League Semi-Finals, which altogether makes up more than three quarters of the Spain squad, and is just adding more games on to an already exhausting La Liga season.
All of those teams will play over 50 games before even beginning pre-tournament training for Euro 2012, and their exertions could begin to take their toll.
On top of this, the final of the Copa Del Rey, between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona, will be played on May 25th, just days before meeting up for the Euro 2012 preparations.
Weight Of Expectation
Even if you put aside the physical problems of tiredness and injury, there is a mental barrier that Spain could have to overcome; the expectation placed on their shoulders.
No team has ever won three international tournaments in a row, and Spain will have the whole world's eyes on them to see if they can be the first to do that in Poland and Ukraine.
They are both the European Championship and World Cup holders, and have supposedly the two best teams in the world (although Chelsea and Bayern Munich might have something to say about that) and the cracks from the pressure might just begin to show this summer.
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