A few years ago Spain beating Slovakia would have hardly received headlines, even in Spain. But that was back when La Roja was La Furia Roja and tiki taka was still dominating the world game.
Then Brazil happened and the Netherlands ended Spain’s reign and their title defense barely after it started.
Despite the embarrassment last summer, Spain is moving forward and once again producing solid results. The Netherlands on the other hand seem to be moving in the exact opposite direction from where they were last summer.
But despite their progress after Brazil, Spain still wasn’t at the top of their qualifying group after losing to Slovakia in their first meeting. So this match mattered a great deal to Spain. If Spain lost, Slovakia would cement themselves at the top of the group. Spain would still likely qualify, but not as the group winner.
Spain did take care of business in their home land and beat Slovakia 2-0. The first goal was this penalty by Andres Iniesta.
Any team’s success seems to always be dependent upon having the right balance of veteran leadership and new fresh talent to move the team forward. Spain was arguably too old last summer. They have kept various veterans like Iniesta, but are trying to usher in younger faces that will also be key in any sort of redemption in France next summer.
Thanks to youtuber Ruben Arroyo for the video.
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