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July 16, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Nothin’ But Net

A Lesson In Spanish

This may sound odd, but it might pay to hope that Spain is a time machine. The more I look at the Spanish football team and their recent success, the more I see glimpses of the All Blacks in them. More importantly, I see what the All Blacks can do to replicate their success.

Until their European Cup win in 2008, Spain had won only one major trophy, 44 years ago. That’s one hell of a dry patch, comparable to the 24 years of All Blacks history before last October in which–most rugby fans will probably tell you–nothing happened.

Spain then went on to win a World Cup and finished off their delicious football sandwich with the second slice of European Cup bread a month ago. Over these three campaigns, they are still yet to concede a goal in knockout matches.

That sounds a touch similar to a New Zealand side which leaked only two tries in the pointy end of last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Both sides are led by ageless captains in Richie McCaw and Iker Casillas. They are both built upon a foundation of strong defence and a brilliant core group of players. Both have emerging young talent, and play with a beautiful style.

Even Spain managed to cover up Fernando Torres’ rubbish form with a Golden Boot and a medal, much in the way that one kick catapulted Stephen Donald from the depths of hell (Hamilton) to Kiwi stardom. They both survived injuries in key positions to lift their trophies, and the good news for All Blacks fans is that both are set to lift even more.

With the hoodoo gone, the curse lifted and the jinx removed, there is really nothing to say that New Zealand can’t become the first team to win World Cups back to back. At the same time there’s just as big a chance that Spain can continue their run in Brazil in two years’ time. There are already suggestions that the current crop of Spanish footballers is the best national side to grace the planet.

And if we’re lucky, we might be saying the same about our All Blacks in three years’ time.


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