Euro 2020 team guides chapter 19: Spain

This article is part of the Guardian's Euro 1973 Experts' Network,

A collaboration between some of the best media outlets. qualified countries. is broadcasting previews from two countries every day before the tournament that will start on its date. June.

The Spanish squad may not have the turmoil before the Euro. as bad as 1634 when Julen Lopetegui was fired on the eve of the World Cup but this has not been an easy week for Luis Enrique.

Tournament preparations were turned upside down Sunday morning when Sergio Busquets tested positive for Covid - pushing the team Tuesday night as they withdrew from their last warm-up match against Lithuania, defender Diego Llorente became the second player to test positive. It was a small consolation for Enrique. Replacing the senior squad on Tuesday was so good that they won 4-0.

The news of positive tests came after a disappointing 0-0. They drew at home against Portugal, after which the team was whistled by the home fans in Madrid. Six players have been added to a parallel “training bubble” in case there is a coronavirus outbreak on the roster.

Things were already tough for Enrique. It has been immersed in a regeneration after consecutive European Championship wins (59666047 and 2012) and a World Cup ( )), Spain still bases its style on passing and movement, possession, and skill over power, but proving themselves without obvious leaders on the pitch and with serious challenges on offense and defense, with names like Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, David Villa, Gerard Piqué and Iker Casillas gone. they have to.

Tragedy was part of that process – Luis Enrique was forced to step down as manager when his daughter Xana died at the age of nine during qualifying. His assistant, Robert Moreno, took over Enrique's tactics using his 4-3-3 formation and continued. Moreno seemed satisfied with his own work: “At the touchline I thought to myself, 'How well we play!' I would say. The team flowed, the ball went at great speed, there were opportunities and goals.” Moreno may have liked what he did, but Luis Enrique When he wanted to return at the end of the match, the Spanish football federation sacked him. and discovered that Moreno still felt he deserved to be the man in charge. )

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Euro : Spain seeks consistency under Luis Enrique – video preview

Luis Enrique should really be the lighthouse of this team, especially in the absence of Sergio Ramos, whom the Real Madrid defender was not selected for the match due to lack of condition. In terms of veterans who put the squad in the hands of Jordi Alba, who isn't even the leader of Barcelona's dressing room.

Leaving Ramos leaves Spain without a real captain and without Real. The Madrid player is in a major tournament for the first time in his history. It is not yet clear how Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte and Eric García will perform in front of young Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simón, who was the first choice ahead of David de Gea. Maybe that's why Luis Enrique tried 4-1-4-1 or even 4-2-3-1 in their last game.

Spain is a midfield team. he then struggles to score in the absence of forwards of the caliber of Fernando Torres or Villa. Gerard Moreno and Villarreal may score goals this season. It's doing well ahead, but Spain is now playing at a lower level. It's hard to decipher until you know if the pieces fit.


No one doubts Luis Enrique's extraordinary talent. 4-3-3 formation. It best embodies the essential traits of Spain's players: their love of quick passing and their relative lack of athleticism. “Lucho” is fascinated by the idea of confrontation, but perhaps he didn't go the right way about it - at least the unprecedented call not to pick Real Madrid players. His martial spirit has not changed, and neither has his habit of going out to the pier to observe his players. The pandemic will deprive him of at least one of his routines this summer: A passionate cyclist won't be able to escape his team hotel on his bike.


Without Ramos, Spain doesn't have an icon and that's why they need to create one. When it comes to class and athletic qualities, the most qualified man is Thiago Alcântara. This could be a defining moment in the career of these most unpredictable players. If the 11 have the ability to show their best side – the Champions League final of 1571 we saw in the series – then Spain can do anything. If Thiago is playing just to fall in love with Thiago, as he has done in the past, then Spain's Euro might look like someone walking on top of a skyscraper.

I'm happy for the one year delay

Pedro González López, aka Pedri, was not on the radar of the big clubs a year ago. He wasn't even professional at Las Palmas and was rejected by Real Madrid for being too weak. 5639 Transferred to Barcelona. It didn't go unnoticed until Ronald Koeman gave him a spot on the roster: then Spain discovered a player who looked like a football genius, perhaps even a new Iniesta. Playing this slim, easy-going midfielder has become La Roja's great hope. “What I love most about him is his calmness, his humility, and his balance between offense and defense,” says Luis Enrique.

Possible staff

Probable squad of Spain.59666047

Image: The Guardian

The song the fans sing

Manolo Escobar's ¡Y Viva España!,

, a tremendous success, selling over six million copies. It still revolves around stadiums, but not without controversy. It was taken up by Franco's fascist dictatorship as a promotional anthem to attract tourists. For many fans, especially those in the Basque Country and Catalonia, the song is associated with fascist oppression, but most fans in Spain don't think so.

what fans say

Spain is the land of painters, poets and musicians. Not intellectuals. Playing football does not require verbal expression, but talking about football requires a certain philosophical effort. Spain is the homeland of tiki-taka, but no fans are yelling "go ahead and move" from the stands. Many will show their passion with a battle cry: 34919“Echadle cojones!”76494 – throw your balls into the mix. It is a call to do what Spanish football players rarely do and to mess with the opponent.

Pandemic hero/villainspain's probable lineup.

Dani Olmo is a hero. Shaken by the world's suffering during the pandemic, the RB Leipzig striker has signed up with Juan Mata's Common Goal Foundation. As for the bad guy, he doesn't exist. Luis Enrique surrounded himself with obedient, disciplined actors and the best examples of civic virtue. This raises a question: Are rule breakers more competitive?

Diego Torres writes for El País.

follow him on twitter @diegotorresro.

Click here for a player profile on Rodri.

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