Social media platforms were awash yesterday with jokes and quips about the national team manager desperately looking for players to play for Spain at Euro 2020, an example being: “I got an SMS yesterday morning calling me up for 11:00, I thought it was a vaccination appointment but it was Luis Enrique trying to put a team together”. The ever-changing situation has seen the Asturian coach start off the campaign with 24 players, lose two, draft in another raft and now has 39 players under his guidance as the first game of the campaign (Monday next in Seville) looms large on the horizon.
Two parallel groups
This has been a complicated experience for Luis Enrique and unknown territory for a Spanish coach with never such a situation having been suffered in the past. The Spanish boss now has two squads training separately with one group of players being forced to work on an individual basis as they were in close contact with the two positive squad members, Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente. The other group composes most of Spain's U-21 squad who acquitted themselves admirably against Lithuania on Tuesday with a 4-0 win. The good news last night was that no further positive cases were diagnosed and later on Thursday, Luis Enrique is set to face the media to analyze the ongoing situation.
After some debate, it was finally decided to vaccinate the squad and backroom staff with the army set to do the honours as they did with Tokyo 2020 bound athletes a few months back. The whole idea of vaccinating the players or not has being a hot potato politically with the matter being passed around various governmental departments. The whole thing has been complicated and messy but I guess it's a reflection on the game of football during a global pandemic. What it does prove is that the sport is never far away from general conversations in daily life irrespective of whether games currently being played or not.