From Adefolahan Oshinloye :
You made a grave error when alluding to the reason for Spain’s success between 2008 and 2012.
You did not mention Cesc Fabregas.
But for his presence, Spain would never have won anything.
His penalty against Italy in the EURO 2012 Quarter-Finals gave his team belief – in fact it was Aragones’ confidence in Cesc’s composure and penalty taking prowess he was selected as the fifth taker. Cesc had been lauded from his days in La Masia for a unique unsaveable penalty technique, with every penalty kick hitting the corners of the goal – every single time.
That penalty by Spain’s Number 10 sent them on their way to the title mentally. Furthermore, he was the only dynamic midfielder they had (David Silva played on the wing during these years), and when he came off the bench, Spain immediately adopted a sense of purpose.
Spain played absolutely terribly in 2010, losing to Switzerland as we can all recall, and were grossly underwhelming throughout the tournament. Cesc was used sparingly due to his injuries during the 2009/10 season (as every key Wenger player was post-2006), and was used sparingly up until the final.
We can all remember Cesc’s inch-perfect assist for Iniesta’s World Cup winning goal.
2012 was a repeat of four years prior, with Cesc entrusted with the final penalty kick in the stalemate against Portugal in the Semi-Final (Ronaldo waited to kick last for Portugal and didn’t get the chance to as Spain won 4-2 on penalties).
There is absolutely no doubt Spain would’ve utilised Diego Costa far better had Cesc been on the pitch in Russia, and not the BBC’s couch.