Tuesday, August 3

Spain, an accelerated master’s degree against adversity | Soccer Eurocup 2021


Luis Enrique hugs Unai Simón in the Copenhagen dressing room against Oyarzabal, Jori Alba and Laporte.
Luis Enrique hugs Unai Simón in the Copenhagen dressing room against Oyarzabal, Jori Alba and Laporte.Pablo García / RFEF / RFEF / EFE

The failure to call Sergio Ramos and the positive of his successor in the captaincy, Sergio Busquets, marked the start of the Eurocup for Spain. As if that were not enough, the turbulence was accentuated after the poor condition of the La Cartuja lawn, the lack of a goal in the first two games, a couple of wrong penalties included, and the popular anger at Morata. In addition to the Sevillian heat, the players felt cloistered in the hotel bubble due to the lack of outdoor recreational areas. Two days caged in the glass cylindrical skyscraper in which they stayed in Seville saturated Luis Enrique and his boys.

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The constant changes in travel planning have had a lot to do with the difficulty of finding a residence outside the Ciudad del Fútbol of Las Rozas that would allow the group to air out. The qualifier of selection of semi-unknown to the general public has also weighed on the group. After the friendly with Portugal (0-0), during a dinner the players complained of being treated in the media as nameless. Meanwhile, the sports debate soared on several fronts when the competition began: the left-handed centrals, the role of Marcos Llorente as a full-back and the little flight to Gerard Moreno, the Spanish top scorer of the course.

After the explosion in the third game against Slovakia, Unai Simón’s error and the two goals conceded in seven minutes that led Spain to extra time against the proud resistance of Croatia, have been the last rocks in the national team’s journey through the Eurocup. The most novice Spain that is remembered (26 years on average), has been hardening her skin for a month by dint of assuming a trickle of setbacks.

From the absence of Ramos to the sports debate, the bullets have been constant

In the confrontation against the current world runner-up, the selection sprouted the explosive mixture of youth. The freshness, vigor and recklessness mixed to engender a crazy and emotional match. For a team that could not hook, the type of meeting that he needed was given. An emotional roller coaster to inject into the fans the doses of illusion lost in the last three major national team competitions in which either they had not passed the first phase (2014 World Cup), or were cut off in the round of 16 (Euro 2016). and World Cup 2018). This Spain in creation has broken that barrier avoiding bullets.

technical hue

The string of setbacks drawn from the days leading up to the tournament have led Luis Enrique and his broad brood of young footballers to an accelerated master’s degree in full competition. “Some do not even have ten caps,” remarked the coach. The allusions to the individual and collective aptitude to get up from each blow were a constant in the parade of the Spanish internationals through the mixed zone of the Parken Stadion in Copenhagen. “I especially highlight the ability of this team to rebuild and overcome difficulties,” insisted Luis Enrique. “We are growing a lot in this tournament,” Busquets abounded.

The squad has been fed back with each of the criticisms it has received and with its effort to demolish them. Against the absence of leadership and hierarchy, footballers have invoked the sense of clan as the great leader in every reference made on the matter. Faced with observations that questioned Luis Enrique’s line-ups and tactical decisions, the entire squad has disclosed its blind faith in the script despite the first two setbacks, marked by poor marksmanship. “We train every day to generate chances and that we have never stopped doing in the games we have played,” says one of the veterans.

Players feed back on criticism and invoke a sense of clan

Luis Enrique has been fighting against the type of match that took place against Croatia for a long time. “I do not want to go back and forth, I want to steal and attack, but not lose control of the game,” the coach reiterated ad nauseam to his players, to whom he has insisted a lot tactically to minimize the risks involved in playing with such a defense advanced to press in the opposite field.

Of the first two encounters, the Spanish coach was not pleased that the few occasions that Swedes and Poles reached Unai Simón’s area were always in real danger of scoring. Untouchable drawing for Luis Enrique, against Slovakia the coach experienced what so far has been the most remarkable tactical change he has made so far in the European Championship. If in the first two games, Koke and Pedri formed the lower vertex of the triangle that they formed with the inside and the end of their band, against the Slovaks and the Croats it was the wingers who kept that position. Against Slovakia the defenders were the most delayed in the triangulations and against Croatia the turn taken worked until the momentum of the youth caused the last revalidation to overcome. “Football has done us justice because it has allowed us to have the same situation, which is highly improbable during a game. Have again two goals ahead and defend with the ball ten minutes into extra time. We are very good there ”, Luis Enrique congratulated himself.

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