In the absence of Ansu Fati, Adama Traoré
There are two takeaways from Spain's goalless draw against Portugal on Wednesday night: the first half hour, when they threatened Portugal, and the debut of Adama Traoré, the man mountain winger that can sprint at speeds of 40 kilometers per hour, with the ability to dribble. A wide player that runs with his head up, classic style, and is capable of endless attacking. Spain were lacking in front of goal again. It happened to our glorious team in the past and it continues to happen to this one, made up of good players, of height, without any outstanding players (except Sergio Ramos, who only played at the end) but with spirit and energy. The draw was a fair result for both sides.
Luis Enrique put out what in previous times would have been called an ‘experimental’ team, although in this Spain side that occurs more often than not, and it is never easy to know who is starting and who is not. The team's leader, Sergio Ramos wasn't introduced until the very end, unsurprisingly as he looked to add his 173rd match and take another step closer to the 184 of the Egyptian player Ahmed Hassan, an attempt at a record in which Luis Enrique has decided to help him reach. In goal was Kepa, to whom Enrique handed a lifeline to, after being recently dropped by Chelsea coach Frank Lampard. Those of us who were expecting to see Ansu Fati and João Félix had to settle for a few late minutes of the latter.
João Félix almost stole the show
In that dazzling initial opening half hour of Spanish pressure and play, the Ceballos-Busquets-Canales midfield trio took the game by the scruff of the neck and Olmo and Gerard Moreno were bright sparks in attack. When Spain slowed down, Portugal came into it and balanced the play overall until the end. Adama Traoré sparked Spain into life again, with his unstoppable lungbursting runs down the line, but on the other side we had two scares with shots off the crossbar, one from Cristiano and another from Renato Sanches, whose effort crashed off the underside of the bar and bounced off the line. João Félix played well in his brief cameo and to our relief was inches away from latching onto a flick on right at the death. Portugal did not score, but had some extra attacking threat.
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