Tiki-taka ”is over, and the coach of Spain Luis Enrique is ready to move on.
Since winning its back to the European Championships with the world title in 2010, meanwhile, Spain has failed in major football tournaments as the team’s aging veterans have lost their luster.
Luis Enrique, who took over the national team for the first time since the 2018 World Cup, did not avoid rejuvenating the team with little-known players in the early 1920s. He even left veteran Sergio Ramos out of his squad after injury problems with the Real Madrid defender this season.
“There are some young players who surprised us,” said Luis Enrique. “We still have the potential to grow much more. I do not know what will happen, but I do not deny that we are favorites (in the group), but not because of what we have done, but rather because of the achievements of those who came before us. I am not afraid of this challenge. “
Luis Enrique is experimenting in virtually every position throughout the year, so new faces will be expected when Spain play Sweden, Poland and Slovakia in Group E – all in Sevilla.
The new pool of attacking players of the coach includes Ferran Torres (21) from Manchester City, Dani Olmo (23) from Leipzig, Pedri Gonzalez from Barcelona (18) and Adama Traore from Wolverhampton (25).
However, questions remain about who will carry the point load for a team that is without a top striker from the international retirements of David Villa and Fernando Torres.
Alvaro Morata has 19 goals in 39 appearances for Spain, but the Juventus striker has never surpassed a major tournament. Gerard Moreno scored 30 goals for Villarreal and helped the team win the Europa League this season, but even at the age of 29 he has not yet been tested in a major competition. The same suspicion applies to Mikel Ojarzabal, who helped Real Sociedad win the postponed Copa del Rey title in 2020 in April. The Barcelona phenomenon Ansu Fati is injured.
Although veteran Sergio Busquets may once again anchor the midfielder, he will be accompanied by more dynamic players who are looking for a quicker kick than the suffocating possession of the ball practiced by the great Spanish teams of the past.
The main concern in the defense of Spain. Ramos, one of the main arrests of the titles won, executed the team’s penalty kicks and secured the lead on the field.
With 180 games for Spain, Ramos has the most appearances for a European country and was on track to break the world record of Egyptian player Ahmed Hassan of 184.
Luis Enrique was already worried about who would fill the center of his defense with four people, and Ramos’ absence made it even harder. He tested Eric Garcia of City and Pau Torres of Villarreal.
Thus, the national team received a big boost when central defender Aymeric Laporte switched his devotion from France to Spain, where he played for Athletic, before joining City.
Unai Simon, the 23-year-old Athletic goalkeeper, demoted David de Gea to a backup role. But Luis Enrique may be tempted to try something new in Spain’s friendly matches before the start of the tournament.
All three matches of the Spanish group will be played in front of some home fans in Seville – although limited in number due to the pandemic. The home team opens the match against Sweden on 14 June and then faces Poland on 19 June and Slovakia on 23 June.
As fans there will surely know, Spain is capable of both great victories and great disappointments.
The Spaniards sent Germany 6-0 to the League of Nations in November, but also drew 1-1 with Greece at home in the World Cup qualifiers in March.
“We have a young country that wants to grow and is hungry,” said Luis Enrique. “I do not know how far we will go; whether we will reach the final or we will only reach the semifinals or quarterfinals or we will not even get out of the group stage.
“But one thing I know is that we will be a tough opponent to play against, which will make us uncomfortable.”