Thanks to a late goal by substitute Jesus Navas on a pass from Andres Iniesta at the 88th minute, Spain would edge Croatia, 1-0.
Despite the narrow victory, once cannot help but be concerned with La Furia Roja’s love affair with the pass.
Going into the Croatia match, Spain would set a new European record in completing 860 passes against Ireland, while it is good to spread the field and find seams in an opposing defenses, Spain may be guilty of leaving quality scoring chances on the pitch, by electing to perfect it’s trademark tika-taka passing style.
Spain would dominate time of possession, 62 percent to 38 percent, but only manage 13 shots on goal out of a total of 16. Numbers such as those are disappointing for a side that has world class talent in the form of Iniesta, Xavi, Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas.
If Spain is to win it’s third straight international tournament, the defending World Cup champions need to be more aggressive and go forward more against quality sides such as France, England and tournament favorite, Germany.
Make no mistake, while Croatia is a talented side that features Nikica Jelavic, Luka Mordic and Mario Mandzukic, they are not nearly in the same league as Germany, Spain would be wise to remember that.
For all of it’s tika-taka passing finesse and style, Spain may need a little more steel, if it hopes to defend it’s European title.
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