So Spain are through to the final of Euro’ 2008. Could it be that the pattern of serial national under-achievement, that has dogged this country, is about to be changed? Right now, the talented Spanish team has the aura of European champions about them.
They came into the tournament, oozing confidence and self-assurance. Nothing has happened, yet, to disturb that sense of positivity. For once, a Spanish team appears united, and not subject to divisive territorial factions.
So all is well and on track. But now comes their biggest test. Standing in their way, is not just a German team, with a well honed, big-game mentality. But the prospect of a major European final.
The Spanish could win or lose this match, between now and Sunday evening. How they think about themselves; how they think about the occassion; how they think about their fans, friends and families, will all have a bearing on this result.
It would be easy to bring too much pressure on themselves. Make Sunday’s final too important. Too significant. Such thinking would create nerves and a performance, potentially, lacking in fluency, clear-thinking and decision-making.
Better for coach Louis Aragones to make sure that each player, is very clear about their individual team-roles. This is what I ask you to do. Nothing more. Nothing less. Give me an 8/10 for each aspect of your individual role.
When each player is focused on delivering an 8/10 standard for their roles, then the chances are, the team will deliver a rock-solid performance.
Nerves will be under control, as the player is less absorbed by the occassion, more by what they have to do and how they have to do it.
Of course, the coach himself has to have this clarity, before his team can. But if Louis Aragones can transfer, that essence of clear-thinking to his players, they will be less subject, to the emotional restraints and demands of a big European Final.
If this Spanish teams mind, is stronger than the pull of their emotions, then this long-term, under-performing stop situation, can finally be broken.