Pressure From The Media
Various theories have been put forward to explain the gulf between the good results obtained by the youth teams and the disappointments suffered by the senior team and none appear to provide a definitive answer. All point to a particular concatenation of circumstances. One of the theories abounding states that Spain is a country where technique has always been considered important, perhaps at the expense of physical fitness, which is less important at youth level but is decisive at senior level. Another reason adduced is that, psychologically, the senior players are unable to cope with the media pressure that surrounds major competitions, which is exacerbated by the country’s anxiety to finally win something big.
It is also said that the Spanish national team is not a priority in a country where nationalist sentiment is rife at regional level and the clubs are often considered the symbol of Spain’s autonomous regions.
At the end of 2005 when Spain faced Slovakia in a play-off to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, the fans and the press seemed more preoccupied with the forthcoming encounter between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The poor results of the Spanish national team relative to the exploits of Spanish clubs, which are often viewed by their fans as the embodiments of their regional identity, means that the national team is only of secondary importance to many people. However, the most prevalent theory put forward to account for the differing fortunes of the U-20s and U-17s compared with the senior side is that young Spanish players’ development is hampered by the clubs’ need for results, which prompts them to recruit experienced players rather than wait for young players to come through the ranks.