Spain face Euro 2012 with Silva lining

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It would appear that yet another attribute of the calm, collected and possibly frequently napping Vicente del Bosque is that the Spain manager isn't one to hold a grudge. Well, not when it’s not completely justified.

A story in Marca claims that Florentino Pérez is offering Del Bosque a golden insignia trinket next month as Real Madrid's official recognition for Spain’s World Cup win… but the manager may not turn up to collect it.

And who could blame the moustachioed genius for this suggested snub, considering it was president Pérez’s brilliant idea not to renew Del Bosque’s contract in 2003, despite the coach having won his second league title the day before and two Champions League titles in the preceding three years.

“He was not the right coach for the future," Pérez told the BBC at the time. "We are looking for another type of squad management, more technical from the point of view of strategy of tactics.” Real Madrid subsequently went three seasons without winning la Liga and didn't get past the Champions League quarter-finals until last season, by which time Del Bosque had added a World Cup to his CV.

The manager may have taken a similar position with David Silva after the Man City man’s grumbles last month that he was being unfairly treated by Del Bosque. “I was the only victim of the defeat against Switzerland, and it’s been more or less the same since,” complained the Canary Islander. “I’m a secondary actor.”

“Silva the Superstar”, as Marca brand him on Wednesday morning, put on a full-on Oscar-winning psychopath-portrayal performance against Scotland to put himself back into the Spanish spotlight. According to those geeky types who know and care deeply about tactics, Silva played as a ‘false No.9’ – a bit like Leo Messi, apparently. To LLL, Silva was all over the front three and bagged two goals to boot in the victory over Scotland. “Ten points without a nine,” purred AS.

“I’m happy with my club and with Spain,” said Silva after the game. “I have always dedicated myself to playing football, so from now on people can keep talking.” As Marca’s match report beamed: “The magnificent Spanish midfielder announced his position on the global front as one of the best players of the year and reinforced his role with authority in the national team and offered an excellent alternative to Del Bosque: the team can play perfectly well without an old-fashioned striker.”

That's probably very bad news indeed for Fernando Torres, who watched the match from the bench and continues to be the subject of great debate in Spain as to whether he deserves a ticket to Euro 2012. “You can only play with 11 and make three changes,” announced Del Bosque after the game on why Torres did not feature in the 3-1 win in Alicante.

Although Scotland had their moments, especially in the second half when Spain began to lose a little shape and zip, the visitors were never in the game. “I don’t see any team in Europe capable of playing with the speed and precision of Spain,” admitted Scotland manager Craig Levein.

Despite a defeat that leaves the Scots with a free choice of poolside sun loungers next June, AS's Tomás Roncero saw one positive for Tuesday’s opponents. “Their team has no football, but it has heart. What’s more, they know how to drink their beer with admirable enthusiasm.”

Indeed, after Spain wrapped up a qualifying campaign in which eight wins from eight helped the world champions equal France and Holland’s record of 14 consecutive victories in competitive matches, Roncero is of a good cheer all round: “Football was invented in Great Britain. A century and a half later, Spain have invented fútbol.”

That contention, if not that record, is set to be tested next month. La Selección’s next stop is Wembley for a clash against England – the latest team with the unenviable aim of stopping the strong favourites to win Euro 2012.