Frenkie de Jong complained publicly about the need for the Netherlands-Spain friendly match to take place. Many players currently make veiled comments about the number of games they are forced to play after enjoying very curtailed holidays this year. These current international breaks normally see two games taking place and this has now been extended to three matches with football federations looking to compensate the games cancelled by the pandemic earlier in the year. With the cancellation of Euro 2020 in the summer, many federations have already been paid for cancelled friendly games with tonight's Netherlands-Spain friendly game being a case in point (the match was originally scheduled for 29 March) with the pressure falling on the players who see yet another match added to an already congested calender.
But as they say...‘the show must go on’ with players now susceptible to injury even more as recovery times between games is reduced. I'm sure there will come a time when a series of medics step forward and try and regulate the number of matches that are played but fear that is still some time away. At the moment, the players should be congratulated for their commitment to the cause and affording the rest of us to enjoy televised matches that go some-way in helping us forget about the pandemic and it's consequences for a while. Tonight we have a repeat of the 2010 World Cup final to look forward to, a decade after the summit in the history of Spanish football with the 1-0 win in South Africa.
I saw a Luis Enrique in a relaxed manner in the pre-game press conference with, once again, the Asturian insisting that Spain's performance at Euro 2020 (21) is the only barometer by which to gauge his side. There still seems to be an experimental methodology going on with the Spanish side and the coach has now got a friendly and two UEFA Nations League games to let all his players secure match action and return to Spain having all participated. His counterpart on the Dutch bench Frank De Boer is undergoing a mixed start as national team coach since replacing Ronald Koeman with two draws and a defeat in his three games. It's fair to say that the Dutch coach goes into tonight's game with more pressure on his shoulders.