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Spain vs Sweden: Luis Enrique has a decent team, box to box


With the threat of the coronavirus dealt with (Diego Llorente is back and Sergio Busquets should be soon) all that's left is to thank the players called up at the last minute for their decency and sit down to watch Spain's opening match at Euro 2020, against Sweden. From the squad only Busquets is out, and he should be there for the next game. And so far there's no news of adverse reactions to the late vaccination, so things are looking good. Things haven't gone so well for Sweden who are missing two players. At yesterday's press conference the focus was on other matters: the leadership of the team and the ability to get the ball in the back of the net. We ended up with the usual sparring between Luis Enrique and the journos who want answers.

Spain ready for Sweden game

They are all leaders, and above all there's me, said Luis Enrique. A clear characteristic of his Spain side is that the players follow him willingly. It's so much the case that it's easy to think he picks the players for that very reason, something which would explain some notable absences. It's another matter that with Ramos and now Busquets out, there's a worrying lack of a real figurehead for the side. Though in truth, what's really worrying is the amount of relatively unknown faces. Half the players could wander round any Spanish city without being asked for an autograph. Something like this has never happened before with the Spain side.

Spain's players, from the Premier and LaLiga

In part it's because half the players ply their trade outside Spain, some of them since they were kids and so we've hardly seen them here, like Olmo and Robert Sánchez. There are as many players from the Premier League as there are from LaLiga (10 and 10, with 2 from Italy, 1 in the Bundesliga and 1 in Ligue 1) and hardly any of them are the biggest stars at their clubs. But they work hard, play the ball well and move it about with style. It's a decent team, box to box. The problem is they produce few goals for all the football they create. And the situation with the keeper is worrying enough that Luis Enrique has yet to show his hand.