'Our style is fine. We will stick to it,' says Alonso

 

Wembley Stadium

Alone among his peers, David Silva was surprised. Even the Manchester City midfielder, though, is growing accustomed to the fate Spain are condemned to endure, one England illustrated so starkly in victory. Here, in microcosm, was what awaits the world and European champions in Poland and the Ukraine next summer: a succession of opponents fixated on frustration, challenging Vicente del Bosque's side to pick a way through.

"We were surprised at how defensive England were at home, but that is what is happening in every game we play now," Silva said. "That is how every team we face lines up against us. They get everyone behind the ball, very deep, and if they can get a goal, from a rebound or a set-piece, it complicates things for us."

Fabio Capello, of course, is not the first manager to attempt to stifle Spain, who his own captain, Frank Lampard, admits remain the best in the world; he is not even the first to do so and emerge victorious. Switzerland, under the charge of Ottmar Hitzfeld, even managed to win by the same scoreline in South Africa last summer, the last competitive game in which Spain tasted defeat.

That the Italian was prepared to acquiesce to England's reduced status in world football and instruct his team to destroy first, create later, under the baleful glare of an expectant Wembley, is a dangerous precedent for Del Bosque, tasked with turning his team into the first in history to win three successive international tournaments.

It is now not simply football's lesser lights who are prepared to play the role of underdogs in order to weather the Spanish storm; if England will do it, so too will France, Italy, Holland and the rest. If England can make it work, perhaps here is the blueprint to end Spain's golden age.

"The style is not going to change," Xabi Alonso said. "Most teams will play that way against us. We saw that in the World Cup. But it will not have a big impact on us. We will learn from this performance. We have an idea of how we want to play most games and we know that if we score first, most of the job is done. People respect us because they know our qualities so it is no surprise they try to defend deep. We have to accept it. Our style is fine. We are going to stick with it."

The success already attained by the tiki-taka style means there is no demand in Spain, as there would be in England, for a Plan B. Certainly, Del Bosque's players have no doubts whatsoever that quality will out, Cesc Fabregas, in particular, scornful in his analysis of England's approach and curious to see how effective Capello's side are when tasked with setting a tempo, dictating play, and taking charge of a game.

"We saw two very different styles of teams," the former Arsenal midfielder said. "One defensive, one trying to play football, trying to score goals. In the end, the one trying to score goals did not and the one not trying [to score goals] did. It was a weird game.

"Normally England do not play like that, when Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere are available, but unfortunately without a few players maybe it was an obligation to play like that.

"It is difficult to say who played well for them, because they were defending basically for the whole game. They had 10 men behind the ball and that makes it much easier for everyone because you are more solid and compact. We will see more when they play offensive football.

"You want teams to have a go at you and test you and see what happens. [But] we knew, especially after we saw the team they put in, that they were just going to defend. Even when they were winning, it was [Danny] Welbeck up front and everyone else defending.

"Nearly every team we play sets up like that and we qualified with maximum points. It is just in friendlies. Maybe sometimes we do not go with the same mentality, we change a lot of players and it is completely different. But hopefully we will be ready for the Euros. We won every game in qualifying. When we play important games, we always win at the moment. That makes us feel positive."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments