Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
It’s a delight to watch the Euros, Jack Butty style !
Thursday, 27th Jun 2024 08:00 by Jack Butty

The Butty is back, the bad anchor of waters that are deeper than your bath, and places where Captain Nemo doesn’t dare to go. The man who wrote 20,000 leagues under the sea before the pyramid system was even thought of fears this man. Nobody dares venture near this salt ridden, shell encrusted fool.


The Euros 2024 are proving to be a pleasure for neutrals, who have a feast of top football to look forward to and savour. This has been evident in the comments from posters on this forum, especially so when the domestic season is over and fans are hungry for a slug of soccer. As kids, we used to love the Euros and the World Cup. We saw the fans colourfully dressed up and raising smiles in host countries. We saw such different styles of playing. We spotted the new upcoming players and tried moves seen on TV at knock-arounds with other kids.

As it was when some of us were kids, Cruyff & Uli Hoeness 1974 WC Final

This tournament has already seen England’s steady Eddy slow start, Italy's decline as champions, Germany's rebuilding as a football force, and Spain's resurgence. Older fans will remember Spain winning the Euros in 2008 and 2012 and the World Cup in 2010. The Spanish team then was renowned for the style of tika-taka, which was short, quick, and accurate passing delivered by the glorious midfield of Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. The beauty and success of this style travelled far and wide as coaches tried to introduce features of this into their teams. It seems inevitable that this influenced Michael Laudrup, who, when he went to manage Swansea in 2012, developed a passing, possession, and pressing style that fitted well with what Brendan Rodgers had established immediately before.

The Spanish style has adapted from the tika-taka of that earlier era, although the emphasis is still on almost continuous movement and short and accurate passing. What seems to be a change is that the forward and attacking movement takes a group of 3 or 4 players. If that movement breaks down, the group reassembles, possibly with different players, in another part of the attack. This movement always has support but is highly fluid when it comes to attacking, regrouping, and attacking again. Not only is it effective, it is a pleasure for the spectator to watch.

This was set out in the match with Italy. It was a clash between tika-taka and the Italian catenaccio, the latter characterised by an emphasis on defensive resilience. Although the final score was 1-0 to Spain, the stats tell a different story of Spain’s dominance. Spain had 20 shots on goal compared to Italy’s 4, with one pundit calling it “a total mismatch.” What has also been astonishing in the Euros are the number of young players coming through for their national teams.

Lamine Yamal for Spain is 16 (Nico Williams, by comparison, is an old man at 21), Arda Guler of Turkey is 19, Jude Bellingham for England is 20, and Jamal Musiala of Germany is 21 – to name just a few of the youngsters involved who are grabbing the headlines. For such young players, it is an achievement to be selected for top first-team football, but to be selected in already strong international teams with the ability and the temperament to thrive is remarkable.

So, as we come to the end of the group stage, we will all speculate on who we fancy to progress to the sudden death stage. Several teams still look flat (England, France, Belgium, Italy), and the question is whether they can come good. Switzerland, Portugal and Turkey have played well and could surprise some. I’ve not seen a Holland game yet, so I can’t comment on what category they sit in. I would be surprised if Germany and Spain don’t feature in the semi-finals (provided they don’t play each other before then). Favourites to win? I fancy Spain.

Artwork by Swansea Independent : Photograph Reuters

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Swansea City Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024