It cost his. We are in the World Cup, yes, although we do it with discretion and not Warhol, with everyone turning their heads when the artist arrived at a party. It was suffered like few times, but Morata’s goal, when our stomach already hurt from so many nerves, tastes like glory. He arrived in 86 ‘and his significance makes him enter fully into the video library of great moments of the National Team. In a few years we will remember it, now let’s look at what awaits us in 2022 in Qatar. Pretty, very pretty.

Since I can remember, Spain has not missed a World Cup. The one from Germany 74 came to me when I was five years old and at that age not even Cruyff’s waist twists or Müller’s fang are etched in my memory. So the first thing to thank Luis Enrique and his boys is that the project has come to fruition. We are in Qatar, where Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France, Croatia, Serbia, Brazil and the host himself have already reserved a table. Once there, we just have to hope that this Spain does not offer the face of La Cartuja, where perhaps the pressure of the stake gripped it, but that it knows how to compete against the greats as it did, without going any further, in the last Final to Four from the Nations League.

Both in it and in the European Championship or in the games that the World Cup qualifying phase has reserved for us after the summer, Luis Enrique has made it clear that his is the bottom line and the rest is … nonsense. Against Sweden, for example, the Asturian decided to make six changes from Thursday’s game in Athens. Only Laporte repeated in the rear, where Azpilicueta, Pau Torres and Jordi Alba were new. From then on, Busquets, Soler and Olmo also joined the team. In Sweden, meanwhile, Janne Andersson put words to the music that had been playing since the national team crashed in Georgia; that is to say, that Kulusevski would accompany Isak in attack to the detriment of Ibrahimovic. The criticism received by the Milan striker pointed to this and in the Sevillian mid-afternoon, with the Spanish fans wrapped in anoraks and the Swedes wearing shorts next to La Giralda, those rumors were confirmed.

The surprising thing is that a player who came to the call due to the injury of another, Raúl de Tomás as a replacement for Ansu Fati, has been a starter in the two games that were to serve as the key to Qatar. The experiment worked halfway in both games. RDT felt comfortable in the opening minutes, as against Greece, it was a toothache for Lindelöf and Nilsson. The purpose was none other than to get the ball to him as quickly as possible and in that mission, Soler and Gavi were key. It was achieved in the first few minutes, but little by little that connection grew colder as the night grew colder.

The first serious warning came with a thread from Sarabia that got stuck to the post (8 ‘). La Roja triangulated and for moments their football was a delight. So Andersson decided to turn to the slogans for his players. Of course, he did not lose his temper before or after the game started. In the previous one, because he traced the team that knocked down Spain in Solna in the month of March. The only novelty was the central Nilsson; If something has worked, why change it ?, the Swedish coach would think. With the ball already in play, he got tired of reminding his players that only from the glue, with the lines well together, could Spain be beaten. And from that union came strength. He did it in a steal that resulted in a counterattack led by Forsberg whose shot (16 ‘) from the edge nearly beat Unai Simón. It was the first warning from the Leipzig midfielder, who on the brink of halftime starred in the clearest occasion in a volley that crossed too much to the relief of La Cartuja. In the same way that Isak and Kulusevski turned on, De Tomás turned off and that was the worst news for a Spanish team whose Swedish order weighed on their boots. The break came with the feeling of bad body, we needed a jersey we did not know if for November itself or for the triangulations of Claesson, Forsberg, Kulusevski and Isak.

It was not for November, no, that was clear as soon as the second part began. Still I didn’t take off my sweater. In minute 46, a gift from Azpilicueta when starting a ball exit was about to be taken advantage of by Isak. Fortunately, the de la Real was in one of those days when even in his walk we see him absent. His shot went through the roof, but it was enough to twist Luis Enrique’s gesture. Merino, Morata and Moreno warmed up in the band. The latter two came into play at 59 ‘for Sarabia and De Tomás. Then Andersson removed Forsberg (thank you, coach) and Kulusevski, whose alignment did not have the effect of eight months ago on Solna. Half an hour ahead, a new scenario and Ibrahimovic biting his nails on the bench.

In the 73rd minute his moment arrived. He replaced Isak and from that moment, all those who were in La Cartuja and those who watched the game on television did not take their eyes off what that giant was doing with eleven on his back. Fortunately for La Roja, Ibrahimovic was late for an appointment that slowly painted how Sweden dreamed the night before at the concentration hotel. Minute 80 and 0-0 on the scoreboard. Time to squeeze, to go upstairs. But just when that arreon came and Olmo and his missile came out of nowhere. A shot from outside the area that repelled the crossbar (Olsen could do nothing) and was used by Morata, who controlled and delicately raised over the Swedish goal. It was the 86th minute and it meant the The End. The final push from Sweden was of no use, which threw character. The playoffs awaited the Nordics and La Roja, the World Cup. For awards like that this whole adventure began.


Morata (58′, Sarabia), Rodrigo (59 ‘, From Tomás), Mathas Svanberg (62′, Forsberg), Quaison (63 ‘, Dejan Kulusevski), Ibrahimovic (72 ‘, Isaac), Merino (72 ‘, Carlos Soler), Olsson (84 ‘, Krafth), Brais (89 ‘, Dani Olmo), Rodrigo (89 ‘, Pablo Páez Gavira)


Krafth (76 ‘, Yellow) Brais (90 ‘, Yellow