Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,


Real time, real news: Goal.com LIVE! brings you the action as it happens.

Spain celebrate historic triumph - Follow the Euro 2012 aftermath LIVE!
Vicente del Bosque's side broke slews of records by beating Italy 4-0 in the Kiev final. Follow all the reaction, news and debate with Goal.com as we look back at the tournament - and get involved on Twitter and Facebook.

Hosted by Matt Scott

20:54 SGT


Meanwhile, I'm struggling to comprehend the idea (as imagined by Ben Hayward) of this Spain side PLUS Lionel Messi. It would be better than Barcelona!

The debate continues...

20:49 SGT


That from Peter Staunton there was prompted by a question from @cmacneachtain1 on Twitter: "Do you feel that this Spanish team is simply fortunate that other European countries are astoundingly mediocre at the moment?"

20:46 SGT


Peter Staunton: "I agree with Carlo in the sentiment he expressed in his article - namely that the state of the international game sees a number of traditional powerhouses in transition or decline. France, the last great legacy team, are only now beginning to regroup after a massive implosion. Italy, again, are on the rise after shepherding a generation of legends into retirement. They are clearly relying on a declining Andrea Pirlo in a way that was never done when he was at his peak.

"Germany's fragility in defence and in the minds of the players means they are always likely to come up short while Spain are around. And the Netherlands, well, their 2010 World Cup final appearance owed a lot to the strength of the collective and not to anything particularly bright or innovative. Brazil and Argentina no longer rule South America dominantly, instead it's Uruguay. They are a good side in their own right, no doubt, but they are more the beneficiaries of their rivals' shortcomings than creators of their own legacy.

"African international football has not been in worse shape in 20 years with Zambia ruling that continent with organisation and vim and not fluency or intrepid play. In Asia, the best team is Japan. They have begun to reap the benefits of increased take-up at under-age levels and could, perhaps, in the coming years have a team to rival the best that Europe has to offer.  Spain are like Roger Federer before Rafa Nadal; utterly dominant in a period of relative mediocrity."

20:40 SGT


BH: "All good points, Carlo, but you can only beat the teams in front of you and Spain have done that. What they achieved is unprecedented, yet whether they can be called the best in history is still open to debate. In fact, it always will be. If Spain played any of those other sides, they may well win due to superior fitness and training regimes. Football has evolved. But of course, the others did not have the benefit of modern training techniques and conditioning.

"For me, the only thing missing from this Spain side is a true game-changing player, such as a Messi, a Cruyff, a Maradona or a Zidane. But as a team unit that has produced consistently now over four years, I am not sure any of the others can compare."

20:37 SGT


Up next - Spain expert Ben Hayward. How does he respond and where do La Roja stand?

20:30 SGT


CG: "Spain are undoubtedly the most successful international team of all time – the statistics prove this as La Roja are the only nation to have won three major tournaments in succession. If you base greatness purely on trophies, then Spain are No.1.

"However, Spain’s success must be put into context when compared with the likes of Brazil 1970, West Germany 1972-76 and France 1998-2000. Brazil never had the chance to win more than one World Cup because no Copa Americas were held between 1967 and 1975. Furthermore, the current international era is one of the weakest in the last 50 years, and much weaker than any of the eras these other teams competed in. You must judge the quality of a team, also by the strength of their competition. Floyd Mayweather has never lost a boxing fight, for example, but how many world-class opponents has he faced in the last five-to-10 years?

"There are many other factors to take into account. Does a team have to win more than one trophy to be considered the best? If we rate a team just on one finals, then Brazil are the best. No team has ever been so dominant as they were in Mexico 70. Then, of course, you need to recognise that football has changed so much over the past 40-50 years – it is so difficult to compare sides from different eras when the pace, technique, physique and tactics of teams has altered so much."

20:25 SGT


To kick us off, enter Carlo Garganese to explain where he's coming from...

20:21 SGT


So, then. Allow me to introduce you to today's cast of Goal.com football brains.

Peter Staunton is Chief Editor of Goal.com Ireland and knows far too much about every obscure football team that has ever played the game.

Ben Hayward is Spanish Football Editor of Goal.com International and our esteemed Spain expert for Euro 2012.

Carlo Garganese is Deputy Editor of Goal.com International and he's the man who penned the piece that we'll be discussing today: Are Spain the greatest international team of all time?

20:18 SGT


So strap in - let's get going!

20:10 SGT


What I'm saying is: Do your research, and bring questions to our Twitter feed.

20:05 SGT


While we muck around with that, there's some more serious talk to be had. You'll recall that piece earlier asking whether or not Spain are now the greatest international team of all time - we're bringing in the writer, Carlo Garganese, as well as the likes of Spain expert Ben Hayward and football brainbox Peter Staunton to debate the point. Don't go anywhere.

20:01 SGT


I've never been so happy about other people having a child before.

Can you imagine how much fun it's going to be when he teaches them to ride a bicycle?

19:55 SGT


OK, I've decided that 'Luigi' is not an acceptable #Balotellibabynames submission. Luigi is Mario's brother. That would be weird.

19:50 SGT



There's going to be more Balotellis! Yes, Raffaella Fico has revealed that she is pregnant with Mario Balotelli's child!

She told him the day before the semi-final win over Germany (no wonder he played so well) - but more importantly, it's time for #Balotellibabynames on Twitter!

19:45 SGT


SPOILER ALERT: None of the parts belong to Helder Postiga.

19:40 SGT


Friendss. GOOOD! That's about as good a Frankenstein's monster impression you're going to get out of me.

Why the impression? Well because we've combined the best bits from players at Euro 2012 to create the ULTIMATE PLAYER, have a look and see if you agree with our components!

19:35 SGT


And here's more on Xavi thinking that he might be available for World Cup 2014, as mentioned by Spain expert Ben Hayward earlier!

If I seem distracted, it's because I'm enjoying reading your comments on that Fernando Torres article. Eyes on the road, Ankers.

19:30 SGT


It's not all doom and gloom for yesterday's losers, though. Correspondent Kris Voakes has seen plenty of positives from Italy and thinks that they could push for another final in the World Cup in 2014.

19:25 SGT


Confirmation that Andres Iniesta has been named as the player of the tournament at Euro 2012. Could not be more deserved.

19:20 SGT


In other news, this is why I was a little late on this morning. Have something Fernando Torres-flavoured.