Unlike Germany, Argentina, Italy, and Brazil, success has never been synonymous with the Spanish national team. Though they house two of the best clubs in the history of the game, Barcelona and Real Madrid, the country always stuttered to produce results in major tournaments. Before 2008, their only trophy came in the 1964 European Championship – a four-team tournament that took place in Madrid and Barcelona. That year, Spain beat the USSR 2-1 to win their first and only international trophy for the next half-century.
In the late 20th century, as Germany blitzed their way across Europe, Brazil showcased their beautiful play, Argentina unleashed Maradonna, and even England brought football back home to Wembley, Spain sat on the sidelines, struggling to compete. Underachievers for decades, Spain resembled the Charlie Brown of international football.
In the knockout round of the 2006 World Cup, Spain was brushed aside by France in a 3-1 loss. Though their squad included promising talent like Sergio Ramos, Fernando Torres, David Villa, and Cesc Fabregas, Spain had once again been ousted by one of their European big brothers. Everyone believed Spain’s young team was merely a novelty act that would never stand alone at the top of world football – everyone except for Luis Aragones.Read More