MADRID, 30 Sep. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Spanish men’s soccer team closed its series of matches in 2022 this past Tuesday before facing the challenge of the World Cup that Qatar will host between November and December. Eight games, six official and two friendlies, to which must be added the one against Jordan, less than a week before making his debut against Costa Rica.
Luis Enrique Martínez has enjoyed three ‘windows’ to further refine an idea and a block that could be said to be very well defined, but in which the competition has been intensified in some positions such as on the offensive front or on the side left.
Eight games that have left lights and shadows in the national team, which has once again shown its ability to compete and an increasing experience to solve some complicated situations like the ones it experienced in the League of Nations, but also other deficits that can cost more expensive in a short tournament like the World Cup.
The victory in the final minutes against Portugal that gave the ticket to the ‘Final Four’ or the insistence to draw against the Czech Republic in the 91st minute show a team that is always faithful to its idea and that does not disengage from the games, while also the draw against the Czechs and the defeat against Switzerland indicate imbalances still to be resolved.
In total, the triple European champion has added five victories, two draws and a single defeat, the one conceded last Saturday in La Romareda against a Switzerland that once again choked the Spanish. In addition, 15 goals were scored and six conceded, but the attack only got messy in the March friendly against Iceland with a ‘little hand’.
Removing that 5-0 in Riazor, the average scorer suffers somewhat and only in three other games was he able to score more than one goal: in the other friendly against Albania (2-1) and in his two duels in the League of Nations against the Republic (2-2 in Prague and 2-0 in La Rosaleda).
Álvaro Morata continues to restore Luis Enrique’s confidence, although he only scored four of the 15 goals, including the decisive one against Portugal in Braga, the same as Pablo Sarabia, who seems to have taken over from Ferran Torres, who was the great scorer of the Asturian, but who marked the last and twelfth as an international against Albania in March. Dani Olmo, Yéremi Pino, Carlos Soler, Gavi, Íñigo Martínez and Jordi Alba have been the others who have scored in these eight games.
The goal is still a pending issue for Qatar, although theoretically, because we must not forget that Spain was world champion with only eight goals scored and with all the crosses resolved by 1-0.
In that success in South Africa, the key to the national team was, in addition to the appearances of Iker Casillas, the defensive strength offered by a defense that, yes, seems much more consolidated than the one that the Asturian coach is still looking for, pending recovery of Aymeric Laporte, who has not played for many months and it is not yet known when he will return.
Spain kept a clean sheet against Iceland and against Switzerland and Portugal at home, and against the Czech Republic at home, and Luis Enrique tried five pairs of central defenders, with only those formed by Eric García with Pau Torres and Íñigo Martínez repeating. The central defender of FC Barcelona, now with more minutes and rhythm, and the one from Villarreal seem fixed and could be the chosen ones if the Spanish-Frenchman does not recover, while the other options are Diego Llorente and Hugo Guillamón, plus the wild card of a César Azpilicueta most used as a lateral.
THE FIGHT FOR THE LEFT SIDE AND FOR THE TOP POSITIONS
As for the list for the World Cup, while waiting to know if the coach will summon 24, 25 or 26 players, there are players who seem almost fixed for Gijón, starting with the three goalkeepers, who, except for surprise, would be Unai Simón, Robert Sánchez and David Raya, this one of the three who have debuted with the Absolute in this 2022 along with Borja Iglesias and Nico Williams, four if Hugo Guillamón is counted, although he did it in that friendly that the Sub- 21 against Lithuania prior to the EURO due to the coronavirus.
Back, with the center backs more or less ‘clear’, for the right back Dani Carvajal and Azpilicueta seem the best placed, with the alternative of the versatile Marcos Llorente, while the battle for the left seems more arduous where Luis Enrique has used in March to his three ‘favourites’: Jordi Alba, José Luis Gayà and Marcos Alonso. The Catalan has been a starter in four games, the Madrid player in three and the Valencian in one, but the new signing of FC Barcelona was left out of the last list.
In midfield, the Blaugranas Sergio Busquets, Pedri and Gavi, Rodri Hernández, Koke Resurrección, Carlos Soler and Marcos Llorente have almost always been chosen by Luis Enrique, while upstairs is where there are more doubts, although Luis’ confidence Enrique in Morata, Ferran and Sarabia is notable, as in Dani Olmo, absent due to injury in the latter, and in Yéremi Pino.
In the lists for June and September, the Spaniard recovered Marco Asensio and has put the ‘Panda’ and the little Williams on the list for a tough fight and that could increase if Mikel Oyarzabal recovers and if Ansu Fati is about to .