SPANISH FOOTBALL | SPORTS

AT MADRID | SIGNS SIME VRSALIJKO

News out from Italian paper "Gazzetta dello Sport" announces what has been rumoured all week, that Croatian International defender Sime Vrsalijko is a new Atletico de Madrid signing for next season. The defender has gone medical exams in Paris & Clubs, Sassuolo & At Madrid are soon to make official.

At Madrid signing

The deal is said to be around 16M€ plus 2M€ in incentives, that takes the deal to 18M€. The Croatian has been signed to give Spanish International Juanfran rest & obviously stiff competition for the right-back position.

Other European Clubs were interested like Napoles, but the player preferred Atletico over all others. 

CROATIA 2 - SPAIN 1 | EURO 2016 GROUP D RESULT

First serious opponent for Spain tonight that exploited their accumulated tiredness & the multiple mistakes of the Spanish team. Croatia defeated 2 - 1 Spain in the last Group D match of the Euro 2016 Championship which leaves Spain in second place in the Group. Although the good news for Spain is that they qualify for the next round, the bad news is that it "changes" their match-up path with now Italy the next opponent next Monday in Paris. However, if Spain manages to continue after Italy the "theoretical" stronger teams, e.g. Germany & France... will also be along the path. 

Obvious surprise result as a draw would have given Spain top spot and the "easier" path, but this now is for Croatia which played their game & very well. Croatian bet on pressure & in exploiting the Spanish mistakes, using effectively the counter-attacks which were more dangerous as the Spaniards tired towards the end. Said this it is no excuse & does not take away the merit from the Croatian side which is a very good team, even without Modric who did not play tonight.

Spain Euro 2016

Spain started with the same 11 from previous matches : De Gea, Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Cesc; Silva, Nolito & Morata; started strong, controlling the game & creating chances. The goal came early for Spain when Morata pushed in a Cesc Fabegras pass in the 7th min.

Spain then had a concentration slip & lost the ball too much which allowed Croatia into the match & lifted in confidence. Their goal & equalizer came in the 44t min through Kalinic, a psychological blow for Spain.

But the draw was still enough for top spot for Spain, & while Spain attempted to secure things the evening heat & tiredness came into effect. Croatia was psychical stronger & quicker which troubled Spain & were getting closer to the goal every time. 

Then a crucial moment half way through the 2º half when a doubtful penalty was called on David Silva. Spanish Captain Sergio Ramos took the penalty but was stopped by Croatian goalkeeper Sabasic. A boost to Croatia which carried them through until the end when they converted a rapid counter-attack into the winning goal in the 86th min through Perisic

The rest is what it is 2 - 1 result in favour of  Croatia.

The end result is not bad in itself for Spain as it may bring back to earth the early Spanish euphoria after their 2 previous earlier games. The negative aspects is, as said, the difficult path towards a hypothetical final where beforehand Spain must overcome the Euro 2016 favourites. While the "other" path is beforehand much "easier" now for Croatia. 

Next game for Spain, Monday 27th of June in Paris against Italy. An elimination game & against an old & difficult rival. Tough affair.

UEFA EURO2016 TOP 10 PLAYERS AFTER TWO ROUNDS

UEFA has released its Top 10 players after two Rounds of the Euro2016 Championship being played in France. There are four Spanish National Team players within the Top 10: Pique, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta & Alvaro Morata

UEFA Top 10 players after 2 rounds

UEFA measures there "Top 10" with an algorithm that takes into account data, statistics & players state of form from the start of the year until now. A method heavily criticised in the first round top 10 list when Spaniard Andres Iniesta was not included. Obvious fail, as the FC Barcelona midfielder played a "blinder" in the first round & is currently the tournaments best player.

So was the criticism that UEFA as apparently re-tuned the "algorithm" & now has included Andres Iniesta.   

While "Big Data" is all the rage it is obvious that the "machine" lacks the knowledge or the human appreciation for "Football beauty". However, this may be the way for many Sports including Football.

ANDRES INIESTA | THE MAGIC

Like fine wine, Andres Iniesta gets better with age. Spains finest & most probably the Worlds Best midfield player. Here are just 12 seconds of the magic, an impressive overhead manoeuvre during the Turkey game in the Euro 2016 Group D match-up 




SPAIN 3 TURKEY 0 | EURO 2016 GROUP D RESULT

Spain defeated 3 - 0 Turkey & take the top spot of Group D in the Euro 2106 tournament. Spain found that old "magic" that was lost from the last World Cup to send a clear message that they are back. The current reigning European Champions put in a splendid performance tonight that reminded of the powerful Spain back in 2008.

The Turks tried but were out played in every position by Spain who dominated the ball & controlled the whole match with touch Football.

Spain Euro 2016

Everything fell into place tonight for Spain, even the goals, an area the team has been criticised for sometime as lacking. Tonight the two young "newbies" Alvaro Morata & Nolito managed to score:

Goals: 1-0, 33': Morata, 2-0, 36': Nolito, 3-0, 47': Morata

Euro 2016 vs Turkey

However, it was a team effort with some of Spain´s key player coming into form in the right moment. A paragraph should be dedicated solely to midfielder Andres Iniesta (man of the match). Absolute "master-class" tonight in control, vision, passing & dominance. Clearly currently the best midfielder in World Soccer & a delight to watch. He was supported by an excellent David Silva who was brilliant, along with another player the best in the World in his position, Sergi Busquets.

But there are more names that need a spotlight & who were outstanding tonight, Cesc Fabregas was magical, wing-defenders Jordi Alba & Juanfran untiring & decisive, along with defenders Pique & Sergio Ramos both solid as rocks.

Confidence booster for Spain, which have clearly played the better Football of all the Euro 2016 Championship to date. Spain has sent a clear message that they are "back" & have lifted their odds as contenders.

Said this, we need to water down the fires as its still too early & many things can happen which may kill off the euphoria. Until then tonight's wins secures Spain mathematically a spot in the next stage of the Championship. The next objective is to draw-win against Croatia to secure top spot & thus avoid the likes of France or Germany on the road to a hypothetical Final.

Good vibes, lets hope they keep vibrating for Spain.

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