Popular Posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Just Wasn’t Made for San Iker Casillas and Spain

In the world of football, they always say that for every good player, there’s an exactly opposite one.

And this year’s 2014 FIFA World Cup which is ongoing in Brazil, for all the quality, the upsets and shocking defeats to the ‘favorites’, there have been some teams, and players, who have not lived up to their billing.

Why look further than reigning World Champions, Spain? After their final game against Australia next week Monday, they will pack and travel back home with their heads too heavy to look up after producing one of the worst performances of a World Cup reigning champion in recent memory.

The Iberian nation were among the favorites to win this year’s football bonanza and rightly so. They have dominated world football for the last six years, winning anything and everything within their grasp. From winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup to adding the UEFA European Championship title the same year, Vicente Del Bosque and his men have been the team to envy. Their fabled tiki-taka football has ripped opposition defences into pieces, their false no ‘9’ philosophy has baffled many, a team. The end result has been, submission.

But even the best of novels do have an end. And this FIFA World Cup has not only ended Spain’s reign as the best team in the world, it has made many question whether tiki taka, false strikers and all that Spain is known for has reached its end.

With a midfield which on paper is the best of any team in the world, it is a given that the Spaniards will always have the lion share of possession. Even against Netherlands, they controlled the game beating the Dutch with a 57-43 ball possession. Against Chile, they had 56 percent. So what has been the problem?

Well, look no further than first, their goalkeeper – Iker Casillas. The 33-year-old has been one of the top goalkeepers since breaking into the Real Madrid senior team in the 1998-99 season and has since racked up 678 appearances for the capital club. Within that time, he has won 5 La Liga titles and three champions league winners’ medals, to mention but the very few. He made his debut as a Spain international at only 19 years and has 155 caps under his belt for his country.

In captaining Spain to winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Mostoles-born custodian became only the third captain in football history to lift the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the European Championships after German great Franz Beckenbauer and Frenchman Didier Deschamps.

A honorable career indeed.

Fast forward to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Real Madrid captain has been a no show. He was to blame for at least two goals in Spain’s 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Netherlands. So poor was his performance that he personally owned up to that defeat saying, "I wasn't at the level I needed to be. I have to accept all criticism…I didn't do things like I should have, especially to start a World Cup. It wasn't one of my best games."

So like a captain and a professional that he undoubtedly is, he was excused, or so we thought as Del Bosque entrusted him to lead Spain against Chile even as pressure piled on the manager to field his understudies in Pepe Reina or David De Gea.

It was a mistake.

The 33-year-old wasn’t anywhere near the world class goalkeeper that he is. He might have escaped the blame for the first goal but the second one was a school boy error. Even an amateur goalkeeping coach would advise a goalkeeper never to punch a ball into a crowded area, and especially if that area is around or inside your penalty area.

Casillas did.

And so Spain conceded the second goal even before the breather. And so they crashed out of this year’s spectacle. And so Iker Casillas will leave Brazil as one of the worst goalkeepers to have graced the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Oh wait, there’s an excuse: the 2014 FIFA World Cup just wasn’t made for San Iker Casillas and Spain.

And That's thesteifmasterake!!