Euro 2012 Man of the Day: Vicente del Bosque
The architect of Spain’s magnificent display last night gets the nod as our final Euro 2012 Man of the Day.
Vicente del Bosque was given the title of 1st Marquis of Del Bosque by King Juan Carlos when he led his team to World Cup Glory two years ago. The next level up is a Duke and we expect that the King is dusting off his best suit and getting ready for another ceremony as Del Bosque took his team to new heights last night.
The former Real Madrid boss had been criticised, rightly, for his selection in the semi-final against Portugal. Eventually he tweaked it, Spain improved and they sneaked through on penalties. It was as close as they came to elimination and for last night’s final showdown with Italy, Del Bosque got it spot on.
He started Cesc Fabregas, arguably the most important and under-utilized player in the Spain squad. He kept faith in David Silva, who went on to score the opener. He had his team primed and ready to hit their peak when it mattered, and they did, with a devastating display that should finally shut up those who accuse his team of being boring.
And even allowing for the fact that Italy were out on their feet and down to 10 men, his substitutions worked pretty well too as Fernando Torres came on to score before setting up another sub, Juan Mata, to also net.
But Del Bosque doesn’t just deserve recognition for last night. Spain have been the best in the world for the entire four years he has been in charge, an incredibly long time in world football. Yes, he took over a winning team after the departure of Luis Aragones after the 2008 Euros, but he has improved Spain in his time at the helm.
Not only that but Del Bosque has managed a squad where there have to be tensions between the Real Madrid and Barcelona players. There have been whispers of discontent, but nothing has ever emerged and they look a coherent and happy bunch. With the history of Spain, and Spanish football, that is no small achievement.
Even players like Mata, and others who see little or no playing time, never complain and always seem content to be part of the squad. They look to be a real team, an increasing rarity in international football.
That control, off the pitch as well as on it, is a hallmark of Del Bosque’s man management skills. His deployment of 4-6-0 was the perfect scheme for his squad of players and he rode the flak and ignored the critics, confident in his players and his beliefs in how the game should be played. He has been massively vindicated.
At 61, there is no reason to think he is pondering retirement either. Last night, some of the Spanish players were already talking about World Cup 2014 and wanting to retain that title too. Vicente Del Bosque has not only made them brilliant to watch and all but impossible to beat, but he has made them insatiable as well.
Bravo Vicente, your reign in Spain is fantastic.