Del Bosque yet to sway sceptics

Vicente del Bosque is on the brink of making history both for himself and Spain. But it has not been all plain sailing for the Spanish Coach who faces daily criticism over his team selection.

Before June his face was all over the place because they listened when he spoke. Del Bosque was someone that everyone believed. For that reason he fronted a campaign to raise awareness on the correct temperature that air conditioners and heaters should be set at and they also used him to recommend what petrol to put in cars – what he said, went. However, since the start of Euro 2012, it seems now that Spaniards don’t trust him to manage their national team, even as he stands on the verge of making history.

The slogan is everywhere – No Hay Dos Sin Tres, there isn’t two without three. Spain are about to achieve what six years ago nobody could possibly have imagined. On Sunday they could become the first country to win three major tournaments in a row. For Del Bosque there is also a personal objective as should he win he would become the first Coach ever to win the Champions League, World Cup and European Championships. For some this has all been ignored as Del Bosque faces questioning on a daily basis for failing to start a striker. When he did so against Portugal he was criticised for not playing the right striker. It seems the man from Salamanca just can’t get anything right, but, Spain are still winning and at the end of the day that is all that really matters.

Del Bosque is a calm and cool customer. He takes things on the chin and never rises to the bait. Del Bosque has seen his entire spell questioned and criticised. When he took over some questioned his links to Real Madrid and pondered if he would play Barcelona players. Others wondered if he would continue to play the same style that saw Spain become so successful and popular. Del Bosque didn’t respond to the stories but allowed his team selection and tactics to do the talking.

Debates surrounding strikers isn’t new to the Spanish side. Luis Aragones faced constant questions and criticism about his exclusion of Raul Gonzalez. As Spain sealed qualification for Euro 2008 the chants for Raul grew in volume around the Santiago Bernabeu as the players celebrated on the pitch. It was only after Cesc Fabregas put his penalty past Gianluigi Buffon in the quarter-finals did people finally start to believe in Aragones. Luis left and Del Bosque came in. At the start of the last World Cup, Del Bosque was criticised by Aragones. How did Del Bosque respond to these words? Well, when the team were awarded the Prince of Asturias Award in 2010 Del Bosque invited Aragones up on to the stage as he said he had a huge part in the success. If anyone was in any doubt in that moment it was clear that Del Bosque was, is and will always be, a gentleman.

Spain were written off by many before this tournament. The players were supposed to be too tired and there was supposed to be a lack of unity in the squad. Whilst tired legs can be seen there is no sense of a lack of unity. Not only has his team selection been questioned again, though, but some are calling Spain ‘boring’ and saying that their passing style has run its course and is now non- attractive. Del Bosque surprisingly did respond to that saying that it was the opponents who were sitting back and refusing to take Spain on. He says that Spain hasn’t changed at all but other teams failing to be more original are the reasons why games appear to be dull.

Spain are now preparing for what could possibly be the biggest match in their history. When Spain faced Portugal, Alvaro Negredo started, something that shocked many. There have been calls for Fernando Torres to start with the evidence being his brace against the Republic of Ireland and many are wondering what has happened with Fernando Llorente but Del Bosque looks determined to play with six midfielders. Even after reaching the final failure to win could see his legacy tainted. It could be a sad end to one of the world’s most successful Coaches.

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