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Young Spain: less tiki-taka, more goals


Alternating between the Confederations Cup and the Under-21 European Championships, which has been much of our lives for the past two weeks, today offers us a mouthwatering event: a finale between Spain and Germany. Watching England-Germany I have to confess I was supporting England, but not because I have greater affection for them, although maybe a little, but because I fear Germany more. I still feel it’s a difficult task to defeat a German national team no matter the circumstances. With their club sides this feeling is passing, thanks to our victories over the ogre that is Bayern. But with the national side I can't escape it. Even in the case of today when their Under-21 squad is not as strong as it could be.

Germany's David Selke celebrates with his team.
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Germany's David Selke celebrates with his team.STRINGERREUTERS

Germany’s second second string

I say not as strong because Germany has taken their second string, in the style of Zidane, to the Confederations Cup, in which many of the first-teamers are missing, and this means younger players, who would have been eligible for this other tournament, have been pulled in, but instead are shining alongside the full teams. If proof were needed that Germany has a great factory of footballers it’s that this second youth team has reached the final. Their football has the reliability of everything German: be it a car, a washing machine or a motorway. And a footballer wearing the German shirt is always a player in a German shirt. He grows with that shirt. Defeat is not something they ever contemplate.

Spain's players celebrate after Saul Niguez's goal.
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Spain's players celebrate after Saul Niguez's goal.KACPER PEMPELREUTERS

Spain's future already assured

Of course, this Spain side has given reason to be confident. Accustomed to the tiki-taka of the senior side, and completely bought into it, this side may be less skillful but is proving to be more decisive. They never make us despair with a constant array of passes around the opponent’s penalty area, which sees a chance created only every twenty minutes, sometimes even more. They are always looking for the deadly blow, whether through Saúl, Asensio or one of the others. And they also play well. It's a thing of beauty to see Ceballos on the move, or Asensio, with his brave enthusiasm and the great aptitude of them all. Celades can be pleased. As can Lopetegui. No matter what happens today, there is a future.