Luis Enrique has left the Spain coaching post. It’s sad news because it confirms that the painful, personal issues that forced him to return home from the team’s trip to Malta in March are still very much present. Luis Rubiales called a press conference to explain that his replacement will be Robert Moreno, who deputised for Luis Enrique during his absence for Spain’s most recent games and left a good impression. It’s a good solution to a tricky problem, one which is not getting any better. Spain need to have a coach who is there to perform his role, someone in control of their own decisions and they have that again now. Moreno has been Luis Enrique’s right-hand man practically from the start of his coaching career – he was his assistant at Roma, Celta, Barça and with the national team.
It’s a solution which avoids any fuss or upheaval – the kind of uncertainty that the team would have suffered if other names has been suggested for the job; that would entail new methods to absorb and a new model to get to grips with. Robert Moreno is more of an aide-de-camp than a field Marshall but in Spain’s last two games, both played after the season had ended and in conditions which were different from the norm, his ability to cope convinced both the players and the Federation. What’s more, the team couldn’t be better placed in the Euro 2020 qualifying round – Spain top their group with four wins from four (the top two teams advance to the tournament) and from now until the finals, there’s plenty of time for the new coach to settle into his new role.
New hope for Spain's Under-21s
And from Rubiales’ press conference, we went straight to the European Under-21 qualifiers, to see Spain beat Belgium with a last-minute winner from Pablo Fornals. The 2-1 result might have seemed a little paltry when you consider Spain’s ambitions to finish as one of the four best-placed runner-ups, but the group’s been shaken up a bit after Poland beat Italy 0-1 and that renews hope for La Rojita. Next up for Spain are Poland, who also beat Belgium and top the group on six points; Italy and Spain both have three points and Belgium have yet to get off the mark. Qualification will be in our hands if we beat Poland – an even better if we can win by three clear goals so that we won’t depend on Italy’s result in their final game against Belgium. By playing well and finishing a little better than we have been doing, should finish the job. Spain have been playing well but struggling in front of goal so let’s hope the goals start goin in for us on Saturday. Also at stake is a place at the next Olympic Games. Lads, please do it - for Luis Enrique.