It’s too bad that just when Spain desperately needs a jack-in-the-box, it’s some jackals who show up instead. “Jack-in-the-Box” can be defined as any player who has the golden ability to surprise and shock opponents with a decisive game-turning goal.
Not just because, now, this La Roja The Achilles’ heel is starkly obvious. But especially because their opponents in this week’s Nations League semi-final are Italy. Known for their shrewdness and ruthless defensive organization at the best of times, Italy have drawn 1-1 or 0-0 in seven of their last 14 matches against Spain. He became an arbitrator between these two.
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La Roja Adorable, decent, and relatively new coach Luis de la Fuente (don’t worry if you haven’t heard of him because his talent makes up for his lack of celebrity) needs one of his buddies to aim big, not to be caught at straws as far as his job security goes. The Jackal’s reference is that, just two games into the Basque coach’s tenure in charge of the national team, a group of journalists on a popular Spanish radio show hosted a discussion in which several of them elbowed each other to testify that unless his former club Athletic “Lyon” won ( Bilbao club title) with this match, and indeed this tournament, he would probably have been sacked.
Correspondents of “El Larguero”, on Cadena SER, without directly quoting anyone, claimed that some Spain players and “some in the Spanish federation” considered de la Fuente to be “overwhelmed” by the matches against Norway (3-0 win) and Scotland ( Loss 2-0). They thought his job was already on the line. Having had two, I affirm, two Charge matches at that point.
I mean, let’s be honest: It’s far from de la Fuente’s fault that Spain has dried up a bit lately. In their last 33 matches, although they include the relative successes of reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and the final of the 2021 Nations League, the 2010 world champions have either scored only once or not at all. This includes each of the tournament’s last three eliminations: a penalty shootout, to Italy, after a 1-1 draw in the Euros; went out on penalties after a 0-0 draw with Morocco in the last World Cup; And beat France 2-1 in the Nations League final in San Siro a year and a half ago.
Three great and credible memorial opportunities – all lost due to lack of a decisive objective here or there. Either in normal time, extra time or a penalty kick in a penalty shootout. It’s not quite chronic – but those proud days of David Villa and Fernando”El Nino“Torres, two strikers with frequent freestyle titles, for club and country, at the top together is long gone.
Nor is it de la Fuente’s fault that natural goal phenom Ansu Fati has already seen his record-breaking career (he’s just 20 years old) come to a shuddering halt with three failed operations to fix a problem with his meniscus. The youngest goalscorer for Barcelona, \u200b\u200bearly top scorer in the Champions League, the second youngest scorer for Spain – all these are Ansu.
He was also Barcelona’s top scorer this season – but his seven goals came in 1,378 minutes spread over 36 LaLiga matches, making it clear that Spain legend Xavi Hernandez, his coach at Camp Nou, had little faith in him during Barcelona. They were winning the title. Ansu wasn’t even in this Nations League squad originally – but he did join in on behalf of the injured Neco Williams.
Nor is it de la Fuente’s fault that Pedri, who is probably the best footballer in Spain, even when he was only 20 years old, is absent and injured again. And Gerard Moreno? An absolutely fantastic, experienced, dangerous and mean striker finished the season, battling injuries and would not be ready for this tournament.
And if we make a case against those who want to detract and attack (us), it’s no glory for the 61-year-old Spain coach, who won two league titles as a staunch defender for Athletic Club and had twice lifted trophies for Spain (the U-19 and U-21 European Championships in 2015 and 2019) that he managed to get Joselu’s first two international goals out of him?
Moreno: Spain does not have any threats in their attack
Alejandro Moreno breaks down what went wrong for Spain in their loss to Scotland.
This is the 33-year-old who has been relegated in the past two seasons (Alaves and Espanyol) but, after shining a decade ago with Real Madrid B, has kicked relatively small teams and scored quite a few goals each season. However, de la Fuente promoted him, and had him play against Norway in his first national team match for both coach and striker, only to watch Joselo score two goals in five minutes to seal a 3-0 victory.
Any credit for that? According to these radio reporters apparently not.
Joselu’s 16 league goals this season, even in the relegation campaign, stands a decent comparison to almost anyone in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad, making the striker a sound investment of time and faith from his menacing international coach.
Anyway, what’s the long and short of it is that it could be down to Alvaro Morata again. It is like the story of Romeo and Juliet between 30 years Madrileno and Italy. Truly a love affair – but two directly opposite houses at the moment. Rejection is ready to fall on him from both sides.
Morata lived in Italy, played for Juventus (twice), and scored for Vicia Signora In the Champions League final, he fell in love with an Italian woman and got married in Venice. Alice Campello is the mother of his three children. The twins, Alessandro and Leonardo mainly support Italy – I know because Morata told me so.
He has a checkered history when crossing swords with Azure. During Euro 2016 in France, he was a recently departed Juventus player whose former teammates, Gigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli, told the press beforehand that they pocketed him. Then they did. They have described him as “soft” and “naive”. It was a no-contest match. Then, two years ago, in the semi-finals of the 2020 European Championships at Wembley, Morata scored the equalizer, but failed to convert the decisive goal. In the penalty shootout, Italy advanced and Spain and Morata exited.
Now, he’s been promoted to captain, and he’s even tougher. He’d rather be remembered for winning the European Under-21 Championship final in 2013 against Italy (Marco Verratti’s tournament only from Thursday. Azure band) and would prefer to disappoint his wife and children by winning. If he could do that, if he could complete his side of the forbidden love story, Spain vs. Italy instead of Capulets vs. Montague, then he’d have a final match – and Luis de la Fuente certainly wouldn’t. You should be afraid for his job.
Good luck to both of them.