If only England were this ‘boring’

Spain captain Iker Casillas lifts the UEFA European Championship trophy after the 4-0 win over Italy
Spain captain Iker Casillas lifts the UEFA European Championship trophy after the 4-0 win over Italy

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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Spain won Euro 2012 because they are still making passing and possession look like poetry.

Some say their style has lost its own verve and wow factor – but if only England were that ‘boring’.

You can’t beat them because you can’t get the ball off them.

The stats are frightening.

Spain are the first team ever to win three major tournaments in succession.

They have not conceded a single goal in their past 10 knockout games going back to 2006.

And the great thing about this set of players, led by the midfield maestros Xavi and Andres Iniesta, is that they are utterly without egos.

They remain humble and approachable for all their stardom and brilliance – and that is part of the secret.

Steve McManaman, my ESPN co-commentator for the tournament, knows many of the team personally from his days at Real Madrid.

He says: ‘They are just great guys. No big heads, no moaners.

‘They just go out and play, and, my goodness, how they can play.

‘The keeper Iker Casillas is still the same guy I used to know at Real who came to training on the bus as a kid.’

Coach Vicente Del Bosque is a master at realising that with a team this good, the best thing a coach can do is nothing.

Ten of the 11 players who won the final 4-0 against Italy stayed the same throughout the tournament.

And the undemonstrative Del Bosque has cleverly united the old Real and Barca factions which split some previous under-achieving Spanish teams.

Can Spain now go on to win a second successive World Cup in Brazil in 2014?

History says European teams never win in South America, but their possession-based game will be well suited to the conditions.

The great Xavi will be 34 by then and the tournament is probably out of reach for Carlos Puyol, who missed these Euros with injury.

But the rest of the Spanish team will be there, including young left-back Jordi Alba, who was the ‘find’ of the tournament here.

Watch out world.