Downcast Casillas and hungry Morata

I think it was Javier Herráez who stated at the end of La SER’s coverage of the game that the best news to take was that nobody got injured. It reminded me of a joke people used to tell during the dark days of Spanish swimming: “We did alright. No one drowned”. That was as much as we could hope for. So there were no injuries yesterday but there was little else to celebrate. The football was dull and if the friendly was conceived as a chance for players to impress, there were very few performances worthy of a mention. Piqué and Silva impressed me most. Although some good play was mustered up at the beginning by Nolito and Alcácer and in particular by Morata near the end.

And despite all that, Spain started well, albeit for a short period of time. It became apparent very quickly that the team lacked the shape needed to deal with not having possession and Romania grew into the game as a result. We also witnessed two lackluster clearances from Casillas during this spell that he should have held onto and that gave an unedifying sensation that he was lacking in enthusiasm. It’s as though seeing De Gea get the nod against Italy has extinguished his sacred flame. Thankfully he was able to pull off two noteworthy saves later on. But his face and attitude screamed of disinterest. Yet another ugly takeaway from the night’s action we could have done without.

Among the reasons for the team playing so poorly is that a lot of the squad are in bad form or are not performing to the best of their abilities. There was also a lack of that rebel spirit found in real contenders. The majority of those involved are not among the regular list of starters. Sure they might be in the 23-man squad, but they know full well that Sergio Busquets (his is always the most noticeable absence from any game), Iniesta and Cazorla will make it into the line-up. To remain in contention for a place in the squad or to break into the starting XI, they should have done more. Only Morata played with any vigor. Everyone else was just there to go through the motions. And, evidentially, they didn't even manage to do that.