The sports area of the Spanish Federation had to make a risky decision after the elimination against Morocco in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup. Luis Enrique’s Spain had left lights and shadows. Offering the renewal to the Asturian was on the table, but sporting signs were seen that invited a change.
The sports management, even with José Francisco Molina, and the incorporation of Albert Luque as the new person in charge of the selection, transferred a report to Luis Rubiales, president of the RFEF, in which it was detailed that it was better to give a twist. After four years of Lucho, it was time to start a new era to introduce nuances that would help compete at the highest level.
The evolution from the Eurocup to the World Cup had not been the most satisfactory. Luis Enrique had taken his 4-3-3 formation to the extreme with possession of the ball as a priority and some fixed players, beyond his state of form. Tics that the Federation understood that it should vary, assessing that the Asturian had left very positive noteshow to give confidence to young people like Pedri o Gavi and have moments of brilliance.
Albert Luque and De la Fuente
Molina left with Luis Enrique and Albert Luque sided with De la Fuente in the reconstruction of the national team. A staff with local people and a more varied way of understanding football. “We must take advantage of the wealth of Spanish football“, recalled the coach after the match against Norway, avoiding reproaches towards his predecessor. “NI do not know if we have played with a plan B, just as we have taken advantage of the alternatives that give us versatile players”.
La Roja did not marvel at Luis de la Fuente’s debut, but he had a hit with the entry of a born ‘9’ as a revulsion, in this case Joselu. Luis Enrique only took one area striker (Morata) to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
De la Fuente’s team had physical packaging with a double pivot with Rodri and Mikel Merino. A single pivot, as was the case with Busquets, sometimes suffered too much. This Spain is more physical and more in line with modern football, especially European.
The defenders and the goalkeeper, a great Kepa, they didn’t risk so much when leaving the ball. Nacho and, above all, Laporte tried long changes of orientation to overcome the pressure and avoid losses in their own half.
Some still embryonic nuances, as De la Fuente himself admitted, who wants the team to press better in the opposite field and have more fluidity in circulation.
De la Fuente needs time for his automatisms to take hold, although there were signs of hope. The man from La Rioja wants a more regular team, perhaps less unpredictable than Luis Enrique’sbut with packaging to compete.
The foundations are being laid and must strengthen on Tuesday against Scotland and, especially, in June in the UEFA Nations League Final Four with the demanding semi-final against Italy in the Netherlands.