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It also is because the Spanish keep the ball to themselves, passing it to each other rather than giving it away carelessly. That is a skill they have honed better than anyone. It is both how the Spanish attack and how they defend. Their opponents tire themselves out running around trying to get the ball back. As a tactic, it’s wonderfully logical, and effective, too. But for Spain’s critics, it is too intricate, even pointlessly so _ which is a bit like saying that Pablo Picasso would have been a better painter had he not used so many colors.

In short, it’s disrespectful.

But Spain is dealing with the criticism by continuing to win and with aplomb. Don’t like us? Fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. But we’ll keep on doing our thing. That’s basically how Iniesta dealt with this before this match.

“That’s what makes football great, isn’t it? We can’t all like the same thing, we won’t all agree about everything, and that’s just the difference of opinion that exists. Obviously for us, our game, the way we play it, is what has brought us success and brought us titles, and that’s the way we do it, there’s no other way,” he said.

“Every opinion deserves respect and that might be true,” he added. “But anyway, this is the style that has given us so much success, the style we identify with, and the style that is changing the history of Spanish football for the better. I think that is good enough.”

Good enough? It’s so much more than that. The world and European champion now in another final. Boring or not, that is all that matters.


John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at) or follow him at