Santi Denia’s Under-21 team kicks off with a friendly against Switzerland


The Spanish Under-21 team will debut in 2023 with a friendly this Friday (9:00 p.m.) at the Power Horse Stadium in Almería against Switzerland, which will mean the debut on the bench of Santi Denia, replacing Luis de la Fuente.

Less than three months after starting the assault on the Euro Cup in Romania and Georgia, a tournament of great importance because it is also the one that distributes the tickets for the Olympic Games in Paris, the ‘Rojita’ will begin to refine its set-up with two friendlies against two rivals that will also be at the continental event such as the Swiss and France, which they will visit on Tuesday the 28th.

The national team has to take advantage of the possible new ideas that Santi Denia brings with him in a short time, promoted from the Under-19s and who will also want his hand to show something in a team that with the coach from La Rioja has been very competitive despite not being able to count on some important players by age who have made the leap to the Absolute.

“The goal is to win the European Championship. The style is a line of continuity, a job for many years with a style of play. We want to have possession, play in the opposite field, be protagonists. We have to keep improving. It’s been the same style since the Under 15 to the Absolute. We have a very good team and the players are prepared to make the leap when Luis deems it appropriate,” Denia said in the preview.

The Under-21s have not lost a match since they lost 1-0 to Russia in the qualifying phase for the next European Championship in November 2021, although it is taken into account that this match was finally considered won after the Russian disqualification for the invasion of Ukraine, you have to go back to the semifinals against Portugal in the last continental event to find the previous setback. Spain accumulates seven victories in a row since the defeat against the Russians and hopes to continue increasing this positive counter.

Santi Denia did not excessively retouch the last list that De la Fuente offered in his position, in which he will have the reinforcements of a player who was in the last World Cup with the Absolute as Hugo Guillamón (Valencia). Another World Cup player like Yeremino Pino (Villarreal) had also ‘dropped’, but he finally fell due to injury, like one of the players called to be one of the sensations like Gabri Veiga (Celta).

Ander Barrenetxea (Real Sociedad) and Pablo Barrios (Atlético) have been their respective substitutes in a squad where other novelties are the defenders Víctor Gómez (Sporting Braga) and Aitor Paredes (Athletic Club), and the midfielders Antonio Blanco (Alavés) and Oihan Sancet (Athletic Club).

With these wickerwork, the ‘Santi Denia era’ will debut at the Power Horse Stadium against a Switzerland against which they will try to add their eighth straight victory (counting from the defeat against Russia) and who will try to create the problems that their ‘ majors’ generate the Absolute.

The team coached by Patrick Rahmen has been quite inactive since they haven’t played since last September, but it will be a good test for the ‘Rojita’ for also being in the next European Championship, which they qualified as second in the group behind the The Netherlands, the only rival that could defeat him.

The attacking midfielder Fabian Rieder, considered one of their best talents and who is with the Swiss Absolute team with whom they already played in the last World Cup, will not play against Spain, nor will another attacker like Zeki Amdouni, one of their players with a goal.