Nine years after winning three consecutive major tournaments, Spain is struggling to qualify for the Euro 2020 knockout stage with only a draw in the first two group matches.
Luis Enrique said his team would have won points if the one-on-one draw with Poland on Saturday was a boxing match, but his team was on the ropes and knocked out. It looked like there was no punch.
Spain, which started in a stalemate with Sweden last week, will have to take third place in Group E and defeat Slovakia on Wednesday to guarantee their qualifications for the last 16 times.
Being one of the kindest groups in the draw, placed in a group that all players except the very weak players can pass through, and failing to reach the next round is a humiliation for Spain. not.
“I was expecting more,” said Luis Enrique. “I was hoping for a 6 point and zero goal, but that’s the situation.”
Luis Enrique complained last week about the state of the pitch in Seville’s La Cartuja, where Spain is playing three group games. This is a recurring complaint from Manchester City midfielder Rodri on Saturday.
Jordi Alba, the captain of La Roja, who lacks Sergio Busquets, also said he was “a little unlucky” because Gerard Moreno’s penalty hit the post.
One of the explanations favored by the Madrid press is that the team is talented but has no leader. It’s a survival instinct like that provided by 35-year-old Sergio Ramos.
“Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos-they scare you, it will be a battlefield,” former German striker and coach Jurgen Klinsmann told the BBC.
“This Spanish team is technically talented. They know how to read spaces and when to play, but they are no longer afraid.”
Busquets needs to oppose Poland and return to Slovakia after taking a negative test for Covid-19, but Spain’s problem seems to be even worse.
They currently manage only one win in the last eight games in major tournaments, a five-year run, and score multiple goals in only two of those games.
Spain has recorded five victories in 13 tournament games since defeating Italy in Euro 2012 to complete a historic hat-trick. One of them is a dead rubber against Australia at the 2014 World Cup, which has already crashed in the group.
Luis Enrique was appointed in 2018 to focus, oversee changes in approach, fine-tune Spanish ownership style and adapt to the more modern and physical style of the game.
Still, there was little evidence of it in Euro 2020, where his team scored about 2,000 passes in two games to return one goal.
Robert Lewandowski showed what he could do in the face of lack of opportunity. His stunning backpost header late Saturday is a clear demonstration of the cold, clinical finish that Spain desperately lacks.
He is giving Poland hope. If they defeat Sweden and the final match against Spain’s Slovakia is the winner, they will pass as runner-up.
Spain, on the other hand, needs to beat Slovakia to qualify. The draw can miss the four best third-placed teams and even end in the end if Poland claims victory.
“We are used to this kind of pressure,” Aruba said. “I’m sure victory will come”
Toothless Spain fights for Euro 2020 after Poland gets stuck
SourceToothless Spain fights for Euro 2020 after Poland gets stuck