Forget the criticism of boring tiki-taka football from kick-and-rush somnambulists, Ignore the haters. Excuse Del Bosque’s admittedly bizarre decision to line up his team with no striker. Spain are the real deal and now have the trophies to prove it.
Three successive tournament wins, undefeated in knockout football since Zinedine Zidane slammed in France’s third during a controversial last 16 World Cup clash in 2006 is proof, if any, that this Spain side have finally reached the footballing equivalent of Mount Olympus.
The acrimonious exit in Hamburg six years ago was followed up by the atypical ‘chokers’ and ‘under-achievers’ tag as the rest of the continent mulled upon whether La Roja will ever be able to deliver at a major tournament.
Fast forward six years and all that talk seems the stuff of mere legend for Spain’s golden run to the summit of world football has blown away any notion of Spain being the nearly-men of the beautiful game.
And beauty is exactly how Vicente Del Bosque and previously Luis Aragones’ men have encapsulated their run to cup success.
“We’re talking about a great generation of footballers,” said Del Bosque after they thrashed Italy 4-0.
“To win three titles is almost impossible. Congratulations to the players. It’s true we were lucky enough to play a great match. Everything worked for us. It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent.
“We played our own game. There were no real external influences – we were faithful to what we’ve done in recent years,” he added.
Onlookers were wowed by their artistic and free-flowing show during Euro 2008, all done with a fabulously improvised 4-3-3 formation which brilliantly utilized the mercurial talents of David Villa, Fernando Torres and David Silva.
It came as no surprise to see them lift the Henri Delauney trophy in Vienna having downed Germany 1-0 in the final. And two years later Spain showed another side to their game with a accomplished defensive showing as they conceded just twice on the way to their first ever World Cup.
Likewise, the meanest defence at this Euros were in uncompromising mood as they shipped in just one goal before retaining on their European crown.
All of this was done on the back of some superb attacking play, insightful passing so precise and clinical that it has become almost boring, and a strong British-like work ethic often overlooked by most pundits.
So just how good are they? Well, the fact that they have been compared to the usual great teams of world football speaks volumes.
Brazil 1970, Argentina 1986, France of 2000 and the 1974 Netherlands team are amongst the finest ever sides to have graced the world of football. But today we can count the class of Spain; that is the class of 08-12 (and beyond perhaps) in that same breath.
Viva Espana and Viva tiki-taka football!