Millennium Post

Kicking away the economic blues

The triumph of Spain in the Euro 2012 is the talk of the town literally and not just in soccer playing nations. In India too, whose claim to soccer fame is not a matter of civilised discussion, the Euro 2012 triumph of the seemingly unbeatable Spaniards is a matter of great debate and excitement. The world is indeed in awe of a team which has won all the three major tournaments it has played lately, the Euro 2008 in Austria, the soccer World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and now the Euro 2012. There is in fact quite a roar across the soccer circles and the media across the world is going hammer and tongs over one big issue: is this Spanish team the best ever? Does it rival Pele’s Brazil between 1960 and 1970s, Beckenbauer’s Germany in the mid-70s, Maradona’s Argentina of the 80s and Zinedine Zidane’s France of the end-90s, all in their time considered unbeatable by any other team? But except Pele’s Brazil which won three of the four World Cups it played, there is no other team like that of Fabregas-Iniesta-Xavi-Torres which has won three major tournaments in a row. Throughout Euro 2012, Spain has played exceptional football that meant guarding their own posts without fail, dominating the mid-field and trumping the penalty area. In other worlds, artistry met intelligence, speed and vintage soccer wisdom. No wonder there was none to rival Spain, the least perhaps Italy whose 0-4 defeat will remain etched in sad memory for a long time on the minds of the Mediterranean nation. Spain has now the rightful claim to be called a soccer giant.

But Spain’s Euro triumph is only half of the story because the tournaments homonym, the currency called Euro is troubling the Iberian nation no end. It now stands as embattled as Greece in the eurozone and though the temporary pre-occupation with its showing in the Euro 2012 may have swept some warm winds of happiness over the country, Spain is now under the icy observation of Europe, who want to know exactly how bad is its economy doing. Unlike Greece however, Spain has less of a politically chequered history after Franco and may well place their case well in front of EU, but some say that in actuality Spain is even a greater laggard than Greece and may soon be on the receiving end of a financially crippling and politically troubling austerity regime dictated by the eurozone.

That would indeed be one of the great ironies of the time. The nation that has emerged as the monarch of the world’s most beautiful game may well come to be looked down as a pauper in its own backyard. And the world will watch how Spain manages to dodge that allegation.
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