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Our short ones compete again

by archysport

Without altering the system, Luis Enrique did sacrifice something, who chose Rodri instead of Koke. He resigned in part to go up that ‘inner corridor’, anchoring football a bit to Rodri’s positional prudence. France’s overwhelming physical and technical presence made it necessary to change something. One ‘problem’ or limitation was that relative shortness or limp indoors, the other was French pressure, even better starting placement. France first occupied the field with the Napoleonic system and its encouragement was noticed by the Spanish centrals, but just as against Italy the pressure was overcome. Spain was forced into an outside game. The center was a great French physical and tactical mazacote and the

The difference between the teams was explained in the Gavi-Tchouameni duel, as a memory of Luis Aragonés and his transformation into the pride of the short player: our ‘stiff’ football is back in competition.

The game of Spain was articulated. Busquets allowed the first connection and Rodri was a buoy around which Marcos, Sarabia and even the Stakhanovist Oyarzabal, from ‘9’ mute and changed, could come and go.

There Spain was anchored, to the pivot and to the interior-pivoting, and it was Gavi who lightened the football until Ferran, who left, who stretched the field, who made the game, finally, one against one, something personal. The scheme of Spain, thus, was like a greater bear that from Busquets-Rodri reached Ferran via Gavi, who was good in speeding up and in pressure, great without the ball and irreproachable with him. At 17, Gavi competes without flinching. Everything is done quickly and already processed. His football is premeditated, tactically sober, little affected and subjected to the collective. His role as facilitator, creator of fluidity, he fulfilled.

Soccer, however, was short on Spain, but soon France stopped attacking, soon the ball began to be theirs and was even imposing their perseverance. Spain knew what to do; in France there were gaps, certain disconnections. The Spanish conviction took the game to some tactical tables, but their football died in a wall of French defensive chests, in the power of their defenses, in the blotting out of their speed.

Spain had managed to create a football circuit, some neural networks of electricity, not many, but enough, and also pressed with precision. This Spain does not handle the ball with the abusive finesse of the previous generation, but adds a self-sacrificing pressure. The whole is touch and fury, touch furious, a little of one, a little of the other, a mixture of recognizable styles. A synthesis that excited Erasmus students in Milan, tearing ‘olés’ from them.

With the ball, without defensive burdens, with a channeled football course and with a real capacity to recover the ball, Spain was left with the thorny issue of the individual: unbalance, leave, impose, overcome … But Spain has two convictions: constructive and the defensive-pressing. He does not hesitate between the two. It is not undone by either of the two. The combination of these two securities, do others have it? Spain is twice stubborn, it has a couple of … convictions. Not one, two! That’s what Luis Enrique has given, and Oyarzabal’s left-hander offers glimpses of differential class.

When the game got angry, with Benzema’s reaction, Spain saw itself in a different scenario, it had to grow generationally and it would seem that it did, it attacked with Yeremi, it was not swept, but there was already fatigue, spaces, and in front it was Mbappé and even the possible referee error.

Luis Enrique has created a concept, a two-faced style, a team ethic, and we know that his Spain works because it incorporates new pages of anger and love for the team: Tassotti’s elbow, Chiellini’s tricks and this loose VAR for Mbappé.


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