Spanish golden generation is back again

Spain dominance at the ongoing Under-21 European Championships in Israel is an indication of a re-structured golden generation again.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

Spain dominance at the ongoing Under-21 European Championships in Israel is an indication of a re-structured golden generation again.

The same team that won the European Under-19 Championship is again performing at the highest level with plenty of experience and skills.

The quartet of Barcelona youngsters in Thiago Alcantara, Martin Montoya, Marca Bartra and Christian Tello are very brilliant on the pitch.

Goal Keeper David Degea of Manchester United, highly rated midfielder ISCO from Malaga and striker David Moratta of Real Madrid are among the best players of the tournament.

Spain has won all three of their group stage fixtures and is yet to concede a goal in the two-week tournament.

Other teams that have exhibited plenty of talent and skills at the under-21 European championship are Holland and Italy.

Spain has always performed well at international youth stage and perhaps this will strengthen their national team for a couple of years to come.

The likes of Juan Mata, Javi Martinez, and David Silva were among the stars at the under-21 Championship and have performed well for the senior national team.

World Cup and European winners Andreas Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Iker Casillas were groomed through the same ranks.

The Spanish were the 2008 European champions and won the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa.

With current top level performance at youth stage, you have to be convinced the Spanish posses the best team for the future in Europe and possiby in the world.

They were U-21 European champions two years ago and they are favourites alongside Holland to win this year’s event that concludes on Tuesday in Jerusalem.

The special factor with the current Spanish football is their consistency in performance at the youth level. Spain is proving to be the best football nation in all international events.

The trick behind all this recent success is a vision to create a distinct identity for their teams. When you look at Spanish football, you realise a top level organisation from the grass root level.

Today the Spanish football authority is comprised of 19 regional football associations and all the associations work in sync with the national and the club federations. Players’ information is passed from the club level to the regional level and then to the national level in a detailed manner.

For example if any player manages to impress at club level, he is called to play for his regional federation and if he further impresses, he then progresses to play at the national level.

The country produces many young footballers every year and you can imagine the kind of effort, the filtering and the competition these kids face to make it to the national team.

Most of the top football nations divide their youth setups into groups; the formation group and performing group. The U15, U16, U17 and U18 teams come under the formation group. The under 19, 20 and 21-year olds come under the Performing groups. This ensures continuity.

And when the player is successful at U21 level, he is then graduated to the National A squad, which is the stepping stone to a place in the Spanish National team.

This mentality has already paid  dividends for the Spanish junior sides and senior team, and while other countries like England continue to brag about their golden generation without any success, Spain continues to sing the right note.

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