COMMENTARY | Why is the best team in the world considered boring? The current crop of Spanish footballers are making a strong case for being the greatest team of all time, but it is hard to deny that watching Spain endlessly pass the ball in the midfield and defense can be rather dull for the neutrals.
So, why is Spain so boring? Two primary factors contribute to Spain's consistently drab contests: style and level of competition.
First, Spain is perceived to be boring because its style of play is focused on controlling possession, limiting the opposition's possession, and scoring goals--in that order. The world champions rarely play a poor pass, and when they do, they immediately pressure the opponent and regain possession. Spain's primary goal is to retain possession of the ball, not score goals. Frankly, this group may be the best ever when it comes to possessing, passing, and managing a match.
After eight minutes against Uruguay on Sunday, Spain had 92 percent of the possession but not a single shot attempt. The first shot attempt did not arrive until nearly 10 minutes into the contest--when Cesc Fabregas struck a beauty off the post that somehow stayed out. Spain dictated nearly every second of the opening 10 minutes, but only one shot attempt was on the books.
The skill, technique, and passing are undoubtedly brilliant, but Spain's reluctance to aggressively attack with all its ball possession forces fans to literally take their eyes off the ball. There are only so many times one can excitedly watch Xavi Hernandez pass back to Sergio Busquets with Spain leading 1-0.
Second, Spain is boring because international competition does not come close to challenging its dominance. Imposing its style and controlling play against any team in any stadium is a credit to Spain's superiority over the international football community. If a team could stop Spain from controlling a match, it would. Spain's ability to play its own boring brand anywhere in the world is a testament to the grip it currently holds over the world game.
When looking at the individual margins of victory, the Spaniards often fail to completely demolished the competition. Final scores can be deceiving, however. More often than not, the score line does not properly reflect Spain's command over the proceedings.
For example, in their Confederations Cup opener, the final scoreboard read "Spain 2, Uruguay 1." That score line did a great injustice to the footballing gap between Spain and Uruguay on the day--probably equal to the geographic gap between the two countries. The South Americans were entirely rendered impotent for the majority of the match, as the Europeans imposed their will and regulated Uruguay's involvement over the majority of the 90 minutes.
Were it not for a Luis Suarez goal from a dead ball situation, Uruguay would have walked away from its tournament opener completely demoralized and dejected. All the same, the score line could not mask Uruguay's inferiority. Spain has a habit of crushing spirits, even when the score line may hint at a different story.
Neutral fans may whistle Spain's controlled style of play, but the trophies and medals construct a strong argument. Less than a year away, Spain must be the clear favorite to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup. If Spain wins in 2014, it would reign as the back-to-back European champion and back-to-back world champion. If that happens, one would be incredibly brave to argue that any team in history was more successful than Spain's boring bunch.
Until another team cracks Spain's dominance, La Furia Roja will remain content to continue playing boring football and collecting trophies.
Shahan Ahmed is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports. He is Director of European Football and Chief Editor for AccuScore, and he is providing Yahoo! regular 2013 Confederations Cup coverage for the duration of the tournament. You can interact with Shahan on Twitter @ShahanLA
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