A decade or so ago, when ‘tiki taka’ was very much in vogue, the Spanish national team had a distinctly Barcelona flavour to it.
Indeed, La Roja danced to a blaugrana beat during what was, to date, their golden period.
Barca players were such a dominant presence under Vicente Del Bosque’s stewardship, that it was difficult to imagine a future Spain side that didn’t mirror the playing style of the Catalans.
With football squads both at club and international level seemingly working in cycles, it was only a matter of time before Barca would come to the fore on the world stage again, albeit with their players cloaked in the deep red of Spain.
Watching the likes of Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Alejandro Balde tearing Costa Rica apart was a total joy.
Not to mention the old experienced heads of Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba calmly going about their excellent business.
With Ansu Fati and Eric Garcia yet to feature, former Barca coach, Luis Enrique, clearly has a plethora of decent options thanks to the Camp Nou production line.
It’s not appropriate to put them in the same class as their contemporaries, however, for the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique et al were at a different level.
That’s not to say that in the future Barca’s current crop can’t attain greatness on the international stage.
The surprise would be if they didn’t quite frankly.
Gavi, in particular, shone bright in front of a new worldwide audience of billions, showcasing the skill set that Barca fans have been drooling over these past few months. He and Pedri will be the axis on which Spain pivot for years.
They, as with others such as Fati and Balde, are going to be mainstays in a national side that is at the beginning of another truly exciting period.
The positive upshot from a Barcelona perspective are the further opportunities it gives the youngsters to play together, honing their on-pitch understanding in the process. That’s priceless experience.
So far in this World Cup only Spain have truly impressed. Other national sides have shown flashes of brilliance but not much more than that.
On the evidence of their Costa Rica cakewalk, Luis Enrique’s side will take some stopping in Qatar.
The confidence gained could roll over into the domestic season, handing Xavi a massive advantage for the second half of the 2022/23 La Liga campaign.