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Italy

Is Spain The Best Soccer Team Of All Time?

Worldcrunch

LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), EL DIARIO VASCO (Spain), SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

With Spain's Euro 2012 soccer championship victory, a 4-0 trouncing of Italy (the biggest ever margin in a European final) that secures an unprecedented third major title in a row, the question is on every sports fan's lips: Is Spain the best national soccer team of all time?

In Spain, which has erupted in celebrations as it did following the 2008 European Championship and 2010 World Cup, there was little doubt on putting things in historical perspective. According to Ángel María Villar, President of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation (RFEF), "people that have been in soccer for many years not only compare Spain with the Brazil team of 1970, but they say it is superior," the Spanish daily El Diario Vasco reports.

But more impartial voices were no less enthusiastic. "Let's call Spain what it is: The most accomplished international soccer team of all time," writes Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl.

In Italy, as wounds licked, few are denying Spain's utter dominance of the sport. This is how Rome daily La Repubblica opened its coverage of the match in Monday's edition: "A massacre, not a final. A soccer "lesson," where lezione rhymes with umiliazione (humiliation). From the opening to closing whistle, Spain controlled the ball, and were superior in everything: more technical, more skilled, in better physical condtion and, above all, more beautiful."

"Aficionados will debate how Spain, the 2012 vintage, matches up against other great sides that seared their way into football history. Did it have the sustained brilliance of Pele's Brazil that scored 19 times in six games to win the 1970 World Cup? But the facts of Spain's unprecendented achievements speak for themselves - Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 in succession, a first," International Sports Columnist for The Associated Press John Leicester comments.

No question the debate will keep Twitter busy: Yesterday, there were already over 16.5 million tweets about Euro 2012 final, with a peak of 15,358 tweets per second when Spain scored their 4th goal.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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