Spain is to be discovered. The Eurocup is one season away, but the Red one is yet to be defined. It was noticed in a bland match against Portugal, the champion Portugal who went through Wanda without more, as a shortcut towards what is coming. A team, the Portuguese, with rennet, just what the Spain scholarship holder of Luis Enrique is looking for, where the majority of footballers still oppose. Nothing to do with Pepe or Cristiano, players with worn soles who anchor the most enthroned Portugal in its history. A change of needles: the best Portugal is what it is; the best Spain was a decade ago. In the Metropolitan, neither of the two teams left the script: a friendly. Zero to zero, no one whipped ahead of time, before the trigger of next Friday to the Eurocup, even if Spain had some more arreón than its Iberian neighbor.
In the absence of emotions, popular jubilation. The public (14,743) returned to shelter the selection more than two years later. In the Metropolitan there was nothing else to uncork than the return of the people. Football? Some jerk, little thing. A game of jug, flat, without big shakes until a couple of final blows from the Red. A summer day for Cristiano, undisputed patrician of the current European champion team. One day without more for Luis Enrique’s test tube, who ten days before the Euro Cup premiere is looking for what Portugal has: a backbone with which to back up the team.
The Asturian coach threw two left-handed centrals – Laporte and Pau -, which always worries the most orthodox. Nobody squeezed them, there was no exam. In the middle, Luis Enrique exposed the new leaders —Busquets— with Fabián and Thiago: a halt without traffic. Above, Ferran and Sarabia covering Morata, canned between two power plants from a century ago. Or more: 38 years old is Pepe, still guardian of the battalion of the comrades of CR, and one year younger is Fonte.
A header from Ferran after a pass from Morata a lo Modric – with the outer instep lubricated – was all the Spanish warning against Rui Patricio in the yawn of the first act. A clearance by Unai Simón against Cristiano’s armor was the Portuguese response. Before, the referee appreciated that Fonte put the pincers to rise over Pau in a scoring header. The game was not a matter of areas, banned from everyone for many, many minutes. The matter was reduced to the give you give by all sectors of the field. I want to and I can’t, the champion and the former champion. Every pedestrian, except when, for the worse, Thiago was given ineffective painting attacks.
Portugal is not a sequel to the bolshoi – most of it without recruiting Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes from the start – but it is a crude team. Obvious: his roadmap goes from Pepe to Cristiano. João Félix floats in the middle, whom no one recognized even in his own home. But the selection of Fernando Santos is recognized; in La Roja they are still forming a gang, there are still those who feel like a stranger. Marcos Llorente should not be, among the most vigorous Spaniards of the course, but Luis Enrique downgrades him by enlisting him as a right-back, many blocks from his zone of distinction, the arrival in the hot zones of the goal. Carvajal injured, the coach resigned Jesús Navas for Llorente’s move, out of the orbit that Simeone has provided for him at Atlético.
Neither had a line as a midfielder in Madrid nor did he take off as a side in Spain. Coaches stuff. When he was closer to the rival area, his assist almost led to a goal by Morata just after the break. The same as shortly after in another Llorente adventure that almost got Sarabia. Two outbreaks of Llorente that did not serve as a rattle for a selection without a hook, except for a final blow from Ferran to which Rui Patricio responded wonderfully and a whip from Morata to the crossbar in the last blink. A Red to be made, sewn here and there without matching it yet. It gives him to compete amicably with the European champion, but the goal achieved between 2008 and 2012 is still a slab. He lacks ease and chest do. There is a remarkable basket, it remains to seal a team, fix the hierarchies limited to Busquets, Alba, Koke and Morata, scaffolding of a group of soloists in search of their own score. There is a future, perhaps, but in football the past marks the immediate present on fire. Luis Enrique is in it. Some time ago Fernando Santos hit the key. In the Wanda, with little, Portugal was Portugal. With little, Spain did not decode that Spain can be.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.