Silva, Costa, Vitolo and Lopetegui's new Spain
It was a happy debut for Lopetegui. The teamsheet didn't give us anything particularly novel other than Vitolo (and late on, Saúl) but they reminded us of the good old days, those not actually so long ago. With Silva in charge of operations (in the absence of Iniesta he took on the responsibility), La Roja dominated the ball, which spent most of its time in the opposition half, and won the match with relative ease. If there was any doubt it had faded twenty minutes into the game, an uninspiring start from both sets of players. But then, the great Spain we remember appeared, more energetic and with a new lease of life.
Interestingly, the incursion of Diego Costa, a player who has done little so far for this team, was the trigger. His arrival only thanks to Morata's injury. He faced up against the Belgian's back-line, went looking, provoked them, teammates sought him out, he tousled. He didn't finish so well, but he has reemerged as a player. It coincided with Spain finding a weak spot in behind Jordan Lukaku, which is where both goals came from. The first, after an excellent team move that was driven by Carvajal and Vitolo; the second, a penalty by Lukaku himself on Vitolo. Both were finished off by man of the match Silva. He already has 26 goals for the national team, by the way.
As seen, Vitolo played a part in both goals. He was also involved elsewhere. He had a terrific debut, on the right wing, with intelligent persistence, speed, dribbling and collaborative play. All the qualities that adorn his Sevilla side. But Silva and Vitolo aside, everyone played well or very well, leaving us with an optimistic outlook for the future. Belgium, however, were a disaster. Cardboard figures that lost concentration for the first goal and didn't show any fight. Italy, of course, will be a different challenge, but that will come after Liechtenstein in León. Another occasion to build the belief.
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