Could you imagine being that good at something that even people who are really good at the thing you are good at are nowhere near as good as you? If you can, you’re probably a Spanish footballer, a profession where you can play for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal and still not even be among the best players in your country.
And that was the most staggering thing about Spain’s 10-0 victory over Tahiti on Thursday: not the victory, which was always going to be a landslide, but the fact that the second string team that Vicente Del Bosque named was better than 95% of other countries’ starting XIs.
There were Champions League and World Cup winners galore in the team that beat the amateurs from the French Polynesia, and it seems remarkable that Del Bosque will completely shuffle his pack again when Spain face Nigeria in the final Group B match on Sunday.
And no matter what team he picks, it will be too good for the African champions, who probably need to win the game to stand any chance of progressing to the semi-finals, but haven’t got a prayer of doing so.
Even if Nigeria were to beat Spain they would finish third if Uruguay thumped Tahiti, and odds of 10/1 show they aren’t beating Spain anyway: Del Bosque’s men haven’t lost for 24 matches.
The draw is 9/2, with Spain at 1/4, but what I am going to do is back the Iberians’ in-form forward to do the damage again.
Pedro must have been sat on the bench quietly fuming as he saw his teammates score ten in midweek, but with Del Bosque likely to restore his first-choice side he can take out his frustration at missing out on the chance to add some more goals to his tally by netting against Nigeria at 17/10.
The Barcelona forward has been in sensational form on the international scene over the last 12 months. In the ten games he has played since Spain were crowned European champions last July, Pedro has scored 11 goals – including the opening goal in the 2-1 win over Uruguay last weekend.
And he will fancy his chances of netting against Nigeria. The Super Eagles might have succumbed to only their first defeat in 19 matches when going down to the Uruguayans last time out, but Stephen Keshi’s side have kept just five clean sheets in that sequence and are suspect at the back against the world’s more capable sides.
Spain’s galaxy of stars can make such defensive weakness pay, and Pedro can do the damage at 17/10.