How things have changed. Spain, once
regarded as the serial chokers of world football, a side so averse to the big
time they made the Leeds team of the 1970s look like the most resolute
finishers in history, are closing in on the prize with all the lynx-eyed
resolve of real champions.
They may have started the competition with
a defeat, but if they wind it up with a win they will demonstrate the
fundamental truth of tournament football: it is those who improve who prosper.
Even as they were losing to Switzerland in
that first game, however, there was manifold evidence that this was a team