The Barcelona connection

Early in the tournament, I suggested that Germany’s World Cup team might have an advantage because so many of the players who participate in the German attack — Klose, Podolski, Muller, Schweinsteiger, and Lahm — play for, or recently played for, Bayern Munich. I also noted that Spain might have an advantage because three members of its midfield — Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets — play for Barcelona.
In yesterday’s Spain-Germany match, any such advantage went to Spain. Germany was without Muller, and Spain added Barcelona’s young star Pedro to its attack. In all, six of the Spanish 11 played for Barcelona last year — Pique, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, and Pedro. To make matters worse for Barca’s opponents in 2010-11, high-scoring David Villa will be joining the side. And, of course, the Catalonian giants have their share of superstars from other countries including Lionel Messi, perhaps the world’s best player.
I don’t think the Barca connection was much of a factor in the outcome yesterday, though. These teams have been together for many weeks now, and have had a chance to blend. In addition, Spain plays its own style, not Barcelona’s. On the other hand, it’s likely that young Pedro (who hadn’t started a match in the World Cup) fit into the Spanish team as easily he did due in part to the fact that he plays during the regular season with midfield maestros Xavi and Iniesta.


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