This is going to be a hard one for a lot of sports fans in the U.S. to swallow, but if La Roja manages to win a second consecutive European championship, it’s going to have to be considered the greatest sports team of all time. Euro 2012 begins Friday in Poland and Ukraine and ends July 1.
After going undefeated during qualifying games in 2007, Spain won the 2008 Euro championship—the deepest, most competitive soccer tournament in the world. Then they won the World Cup in South Africa two years ago. No team has ever won two consecutive Euros, much less with a World Cup in between. The accomplishment, in a sport played everywhere on the planet, and against European teams loaded with talent, would be a historic wonder.
Already, Spain has placed itself among soccer’s other international dynasties that are often mentioned among the greatest and most beautiful soccer teams of all time, including Pelé’s Brazil.
It has arguably blown by most of them with its record of 32-2-1 in the most meaningful competitions since 2008 a 91.4% clip. La Roja sits atop the rankings of FIFA, the sport’s governing body, and leads the respected Elo Ratings scale, a formula based on the difficulty of a team’s schedule and its margin of victory.