The Spanish football team can rightfully claim to be one of the major powers in world football today. But, for their fans it was a 44 year long wait. The Spaniards invariably choked on the big stage and with world class players never performed to their potential till 2008.
The last silverware they won was way back in 1964, when they won the European Champions, known as the Nations Cup in those days. The 1964 team was led by Luis Suarez, a tournament that they hosted. Suarez was nicknamed "El Arquitecto" by the Spaniards because of his excellent passing skilling and his great vision. Suarez led from the front and was the star performer for the team during the tournament.
The tournament had only 4 teams participating in the final round. Spain played Hungary in the semi-finals. Suarez created the first goal and then inspired his younger team mates to score in the 112th minute to send Spain into the final.
The final was to be played in front of atleast 80,000 people at the Santiago Bernabeu. The two teams which had made it to finals was Spain and Russia and much like the previous edition, political tensions were to the fore. The Spanish who were not allowed to play the Russians in 1960 were allowed to be played this time around by General Franco. The Spaniards came out victorious and won the tournament for the first time. We would never know whether the Spanish team with brilliant players like Luis Suarez, Alfred Di Stefano have won the World Cup had they been allowed to play in 1960.
Fast forward to 2008, the crafty maestros did not let their team down this time around. The trophy was finally theirs. Their never ending failures did not force them to lose their faith in the brand of football which we associate with this great team. Technical excellence along with great vision and imagination and of course the much talked about tiki taka football was for all to see. A brilliant pass by the midfield maestro Xavi for Torres who exquisitely finished it pretty much summed up the way the way the Spaniards played throughout the tournament. After the great disappointment of 2004 when the Greeks won it with minimal flare, this was team which had great movement, speed, offensive intent. Along with the forwards it was also the defence which stood up to the test.
Time and again questions have been raised on the future of international football. The wide spread notion that players never performed as well for their country as they would for their clubs were laid to rest by this squad. For once, Real and Barcelona sworn enemies in the league played for their national flag and won a tournament to prove that there is no greater glory than playing for the nation.
Will they be the first country to win 3 major international trophies back to back will be known in days to come. It was a 44 year long for the Spaniards, to know what it means ask the English fans what it would mean to them if they could win it for the first time this year?