Saturday, July 28, 2012

CAN THEY BOUNCE BACK? by Olawale Adigun

While writing this, guess what I was doing again? I was watching the victorious Spanish squad that won Euro 2012, especially the finals which Spain dismantled and annihilated the Italians, remember that the team were unbeaten, throughout the tournament, passed every one out of possession and didn’t start with a recognized striker except against Portugal. 

Fast forward to London 2012 Olympics, football event, where the Spanish team were pitted against Japan, Honduras and Morocco. The team boasted of players like Juan Mata, David De Gea, Javi Martinez, Iker Muniain, Jordi Alba and a host of other laliga stars and also coached by Luis Millar. 

Their opening game against Japan was already tagged a walkover by bookmakers, but no one noticed the fact that the Japanese team were unbeaten in qualifying, although they were coming into this one without influential players like Shinji Kagawa and Ryo Miyachi. 

For the very first time in a long time, i saw a Spanish team that played without an identity, the free flowing football was lacking, defensive frailty everywhere. Credit must be given to Japan who stifled the na├»ve Spaniards, kept running ceaselessly but missed chances after chances, they could have won the game easily by a large margin. 

Looking forward, Luis Millar’s side need to keep their shape, no doubt they are bad starters in tournaments, remember the lost their opening fixture in the South Africa 2010 to Switzerland and drew their opening game against Italy at Euro 2012 but we all know the story. 

Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera will need to be more crafty and efficient in the middle of the park against Honduras. 

The Spaniards must be wary of the fact that Honduras and Morocco played a draw leaving them at the bottom, so this game is a must win for them to keep up with Japan, they will also put in mind that it’s too premature to meet the Brazilians in the Quarter finals, in order to do that they will need to top the table.

Herculean task for the Spanish team but they’re still my favourites for Gold, many have talked about the star studded Brazil squad but I think they will crumble when it matters most, we almost saw that against Egypt when they almost let a three goal lead slip.

In other key games in the second round of matches for the men’s football event, Senegal will take on Uruguay who had to come back against the United Arab Emirates, key for Senegal will be their physicality, Team GB complained about it in the first game, but they need to watch out for the guile and craft of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, Gaston Ramirez is another midfielder Senegal must keep at bay. 

Whoever said Belarus would threaten Brazil at the beginning of the football event for a place on the top of the table might have been smacked heavily, but lo! And behold, Belarus take on Brazil in a contest for who tops the table, Belarus slipped past New Zealand in the opening game, so Brazil need to be careful not to underrate them, 

Neymar, Oscar and the supporting cast should be too much for them. You ask me about Team GB so far so good, they’ve only played one game so far, but they look decent but hurriedly put together, medals? I’m not convinced yet.   Ciao!!!!

In the spirit of olympics, Olawale Adigun looks into the chances of world and european champion Spain in the football event of the London 2012 Olympic. Join Wale on his sport shows on top radio in the morning and evening.

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