Spain | Spain beats Portugal and qualifies for the ‘final four’ of the League of Nations

It is difficult to decipher an eleven of Luis Enrique. He doesn’t have players with hierarchy that he clings to in life-or-death matches. And that is as respectable as it is debatable. for this match he changed the defense, the entire midfield and his striker regarding the team that fell in Zaragoza against Switzerland. Sending Eric García and Azpilicueta to the stands, for some designated and for others protected.

Be that as it may, he lined up a almost unprecedented medullary with Carlos Soler adding arrival with Rodri biting and Koke as anchor. Above left Asensio as a shock on the bench with Sarabia generating play along with an inconsequential Ferran Torres already Morata stiletto. For many an elaborate team thinking more about him world than in the Nations League. To which was added an unrecognizable light blue shirt.

A first-party powder

Portugal, as a worthy Fernando Santos team that it is, he dug in and played speed out after robbery. What drew a start with the ball at the feet of Spain, especially in those of central Pau and a surprising Guillamón who does not play in that position or in his club. The Portuguese crouched waiting for the moment of the ambush with Cristiano released in defence. Spain did not risk and Portugal did not uncover. The match, with 81% Spanish possessionwas pasty as a powder, with a long shot from Neves as the only highlight in the first half hour.

In the 32nd minute, Bruno Fernandes stole Rodri’s wallet and sent Diogo Jota running, who forced Unai Simón to save the goal. If there was a plan, it couldn’t be that because at 37 minutes Bruno himself brushed the goal with a shot with the left that kissed the nets on the outside. At the break, Portugal flirted with the goal, while Spain had not shot on goal, and so it seems difficult to beat anyone. To which was added that the best player was the goalkeeper. to win by boredomwithout spirit.

Cristiano Ronald regrets after a missed chance. EFE

If the eleven was surprising, even more so was the substitution ordered by Luis Enrique to reorganize the game. got into Busquets to the midfield and threw back Rodri from central, a position in which he has never played. Change of author difficult to explain and even more difficult to understand. In those Unai Simón returned to save the team in another error behind, but the coach did not flinch, trusting everything to hit the opportunity that fell on him. If any fell… It seemed that the tie was worth it to Spain and it was Portugal who needed the victory.

half hour match

And at the meeting time the Asturian discovered his cards. He had led the match even until then to up the pace the last half with Pedri, Gavi y Yeremi. The midfield began to move without the ball and the revolutions increased. However, the chances did not come and time was running against Spain. Two corner kicks, arrivals in the opponent’s area, full-backs adding to the attack, passes over the lines… Spain, now, was going for the game. Carvajal miraculously took out a shot that went into the net and the Portuguese began to regret wasting their chances. Who forgives… At 70 minutes Morata made the first shot on goal and seconds later Cristiano forgave, with a decisive intervention by Gayá. Things happened.

A different game of half an hour was played. Nico Williams and Yeremi gave him speed up and Morata was encouraged by dropping down for a ball that ended with a shoe that Diogo Costa got rid of. At the crossroads of blows he could go through anything, but Spain seemed to have more legs and more football. The problem is that she had given away an hour and the rush was against her.

The players of the national team celebrate Morata’s goal. EFE

And the plan became perfect when a great pass from Carvajal was headed to the center by Nico Williams and Morata nailed it to the net. Luis Enrique was right with the chess game that he had proposed in Braga. Spain won by squeezing the board and will be in the Final Four in the Netherlands in June. Where will Luis Enrique be on the bench, except for a catastrophe in the World Cup. And it will be because he has earned it with another approach as debatable as it is successful, judging by the result.


Portugal: Diogo Costa (6); Cancelo (5), Danilo (7), Dias (6), Mendes (6); Neves (5), Carvalho (6), Bruno Fernandes (7); Bernardo (6), Cristiano Ronaldo (5), Jota (6). Trainer: Fernando Santos (6). Changes: Joao Mario (5) by Bernardo (min.78), Rafael Leao (5) by Williiam (min.72), Vitinha (5) by Diogo Jota (min.78), Joao Félix by

spain: Unai Simón (8); Carvajal (5), Guillamón (5), Pau Torres (5), Gayá (5); Soler (4), Rodri (5), Koke (4); Ferran Torres (4), Morata (7), Sarabia (4). Coach: Luis Enrique (5). Substitutions: Busquets (6) for Guillamón (min.46), Pedri (6) for Koke (min. 60), Gavi (6) for Soler (min. 60), Yeremi (6) for Sarabia (min. 60), Nico Williams (6) for Ferran Torres (min. 72).

Gol: 0-1, Morata (min.87)

Referee: Daniele Orsato, from Italy. Amonestó to Guillamón, Bernardo, Carvajal, Nuno Mendes.

Braga Municipal Stadium. 30,000 spectators.



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