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Spain measures its reaction capacity in Prague

Luis Enrique gives instructions from the band. / Jorge Guerrero (Afp)

League of Nations

The stumble against Portugal puts pressure on Luis Enrique’s team to beat a Czech Republic that is looking for the double at home, after beating Switzerland on the first day

Óscar Bellot

The Spanish team measures its reaction capacity in Prague. La Roja’s draw against Portugal at the Benito Villamarín has considerably reduced the margin of error for Luis Enrique’s team, who cannot afford to fail again in the city of Franz Kafka in order not to lose the rope against the Republic Czech in the recently started third edition of the League of Nations. The Central European block, leader of the group after beating a Switzerland that bet higher but was weak in the areas in its debut, is chasing the double at the Sinobo Stadium and will put Spain to the test within this extremely tight schedule that does not offer space to lick the wounds. It’s time to get up in order to prevent the slope from acquiring unaffordable percentages.

Despite the fact that the draw with Portugal was logical, the way in which it occurred left a feeling of discouragement in the Spanish dugout, although Luis Enrique stated that he was pleased with the attitude and performance of his pawns. “It is difficult to withstand this rate of pressure for ninety minutes, but the team has been good, I liked it”, he proclaimed, displaying an optimism that collides with the lack of forcefulness that his pupils showed in the Portuguese area .

Beyond the result, the dispute with Portugal again showed that Luis Enrique has enough wardrobe. Azpilicueta complied on the right side, Diego Llorente covered Laporte’s loss with solvency in the axis of the rearguard, Carlos Soler continues to press Koke and Sarabia gave another blow on the table in the fight to be in the offensive trident. But the frenetic pace of trips and games, added to the heights of the course in which we find ourselves, leaves no choice but to manage the minutes with great caution, so Luis Enrique will shake the tree in search of extra energy.

Carvajal, substitute in Heliópolis, points to the right side of a defense that Iñigo Martínez could also enter. In midfield, Koke is likely to take over from Carlos Soler and Rodri has options to sit down Busquets. Above, Asensio and Ansu Fati are looking for minutes with which to feel important again in the national team, although Luis Enrique has already warned that the case of the Barça diamond is special because it comes from a very long injury.

History smiles at Spain

On the other side will be a Czech Republic that Spain has faced five times since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, with a balance of four wins for La Roja and one draw. The last time they met was in the first phase of Euro 2016, with victory for the team led by Vicente del Bosque thanks to a solitary goal in the final stretch from Piqué to Iniesta’s cross. De Gea saved the furniture shortly after by frustrating Darida’s equalizer the day the Manchester United goalkeeper took over from Iker Casillas, a substitute at the start of a final phase fourteen years later.

Of the starting eleven that Spain had on that occasion, Jordi Alba, Busquets and Morata resist. Azpilicueta and Koke, also called up for the first four games of the League of Nations, were on the bench. Peter Cech was the great figure of the Czechs at the time, led by Pavel Vrba, who stepped down as coach at the end of that European Championship. Since 2018, the helm has been held by Jaroslav Silhavy, who managed to lead the ‘národní tým’ to the quarterfinals of the European Championship held in 2021. Denmark blocked his path, after the Central Europeans fell to the Netherlands in the round of 16.

The Czechs lost the last train for the World Cup in Qatar when they fell to Sweden in the playoffs in March and they face the League of Nations with the intention of doing a good job, although they are aware that Spain and Portugal have the favorites within the group . The loss due to injury of Schick, who signed a season to frame with Bayer Leverkusen registering 24 goals in 27 Bundesliga games, reduces his offensive potential. His absence is joined by other significant ones such as that of defender Tomas Holes and midfielder Antonin Barak, also due to physical problems. Yes, Vaclik, Sevilla exporter, and Jantko, Getafe midfielder, are available. Two key figures in a block in which order prevails. Spain has the mission of dismantling it.

Likely lineups

  • Czech Republic:
    Vaclik, Kudela, Brabec, Zima, Coufal, Sadilek, Soucek, Mateju, Jankto, Kuchta y Hlozek.

  • Spain:
    Unai Simón, Carvajal, Iñigo Martínez, Pau Torres, Marcos Alonso, Busquets, Koke, Gavi, Ferran Torres, Morata and Dani Olmo.

  • Referee:
    François Letexier (France).

  • Hour:
    20:45 h.

  • Estadio:
    Sinobo Stadium.

  • TV:
    La1.

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