When Spain won the European Championship in 2012, many a football fan was overawed by the beautiful football the team played, scoring goals in abundance on their way to the title. But one thing that would be very disheartening for those who love football is the system that Spain used, the 4-3-3-0 doesn’t allow the scope to deploy a player in the traditional striker’s role.
Spain drew their first match against Italy playing Cesc Fabregas up front, who is a midfielder, with support from Adres Iniesta and David Silva. Although Vicente del Bosque did bring on Fernando Torres at times, but he too, was not deployed as a typical striker and played as a roving forward, feeding off loose balls and passes from the midfield.
This has brought football to a very awkward juncture in its evolution when already; we have seen the decline of the box to box midfielder for a trequerista player and two defensive screens providing cover for the defenders. And now, if the striker also becomes extinct from the game, it will not only be a disaster but a cardinal sin as well. Over the years, due to a team’s inclination to not lose instead of winning at all costs has seen only one forward take the field of play and that has seen the reduction in the number of strikers who can win a game with a moment of brilliance, the way the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cruyff, Pele and many others had done in the past.
It has seen a decline in the standard of strikers with many teams playing a striker who does not even deserve to be called a striker because of his lack of class and finishing in front of goal. Even FIFA had to launch the Go for Goal program in order to push the teams to play more entertaining and free flowing football, looking to score more goals instead of trying to shut the opposition off and scoring off a quick counter attack or a mistake.
And for a traditional follower of the game, the lack of goals that a tournament sees these days is also very threatening. A casual fan goes to the ground to see their team win, playing good football, scoring a lot of goals, but all they get today are crunching tackles, the complex tactics of the coaches doing battle instead of the players on the field and their skills.
This over reliance on the back room work and not on the field of play and the ability of the players has declined the standard of the game quite a lot and many have turned their backs to the game as well. The business of football, as a result, has suffered and many investors, who pour money into the game, fire a manager if their team is not doing well. Results have become more important than upholding the tenets of the game and there might even come a day when an owner is seen in the manager’s role.