Spain: a team that is more than the sum of its parts
Luis Enrique said that he would give his Spain team a 9 following their performance at Euro 2020. I would leave it at 7.5. The 9 I would give to him for building a strong team that is worth much more than the sum of its individual members.
It is a dominating, brave and selfless team, excellent from box to box, but not so much in the boxes, where they have lacked security at the back and the necessary bite up front. From the little possession that we allowed opponents to have, we have suffered too many setbacks and gifted them more than one goal.
In terms of finishing, there has been a deficit alleviated by two high-scoring games (5-0 against Slovakia; 5-3 against Croatia) that didn’t hide the fact that in the other games, before Italy, our goal return was far less than it should have been for the amount of possession and chances created. But the goal scoring instinct cannot be thought by the coach; you either have it or you don’t.
In any case, we must be grateful to this group of players who started the competition with serious question marks hanging over their heads. We came into the tournament after a bad streak that began at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, where we failed to qualify for the last-16 under the guidance of Del Bosque.
With Lopetegui, everything seemed on track for Russia 2018 until he was sacked by Rubiales just before the start of the tournament after he announced he had signed a deal to take over Real Madrid. Hierro took control for a brief spell but Russia left our spirits floored.
Then came Luis Enrique, whose tenure was interrupted due to a family tragedy. Roberto Moreno's period as interim coach was going well until that came to an abrupt and ugly end. By the time Luis Enrique returned, the national team had become a source of displeasure for most of us.
A Spain revitalized
We have to thank this team for having re-engaged the fans. There are still the reluctant among us who speak of five draws for one victory. That is one way of looking at it. The other is that they have reached the semifinals, where they have fallen at the hands of Italy despite being the better team.
It is a group that mixes generations: the beacon has been the venerable Busquets; there are the remains of the lost ‘Isco generation’, with Morata as its flag bearer; there is the core of the group formed by those who won the 2019 U21 European Championship led by Dani Almo; and to finish off, the youngest squad member, Pedri. All of them have been moulded into a disciplined and energetic team, a team without any standout individuals and by whom it is a pleasure to be represented.
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