Luis Enrique‘s side huffed and puffed but could not blow Morocco’s sturdy house down in the last 16 on Tuesday, falling 3-0 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes.
Spain arrived in Qatar with grand dreams of winning a alternate World Cup, completely induced in their style of play, but departed early Wednesday, ruminating on an identity extremity. La Roja last lifted a major jewel a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they’ve not won a single knockout game at the FIFA World Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010. Luis Enrique’s side raved and puffed but couldn’t blow Morocco’s sturdy house down in the last 16 on Tuesday, falling 3- 0 on penalties after 120 goalless twinkles.
The north African side made history by reaching the quarter- tests for the first time, while Spain peered forlornly back at theirs and must now wonder if it’s time to move on. They tried over, 000 passes against Morocco but ended up with nothing to show for it, forcing Yassine Bounou into only one save before the shootout.
There he made two further and Spain were excluded in the last 16 again, just as they were in Russia four times agone.
“We dominated the game but we demanded a thing,” lamented Luis Enrique.” We could have been more effective in the final third, but I’m further than satisfied with what my players did. They represented impeccably what my idea of football is.”
When Xavi and Andres Iniesta ruled the world, opponents were largely still too naive to know to stop them, and they had too important quality to be fenced off for long. Now only truly elite club sides like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City can succeed by dominating the ball entirely– with maybe the world’s stylish striker, Erling Haaland, as the forefront. Against Morocco, Luis Enrique left his top arranger Alvaro Morata on the bench, concluding rather for Marco Asensio, whom he trusts more not to lose the ball.
The trainer buys” the complete pack” when it comes to possession football, for better or for worse. That means there’s no Plan B, with Nico Williams’s pace and honesty on the right hand as much of a nod as Luis Enrique will give to other ideas.
Players he left at home like strikers Iago Aspas and Borja Iglesias might have been suitable to offer further of a challenge to Morocco’s excellent detachment.
An element of Spain’s plan may be borne of necessity. As good as midfielders Pedri and Gavi are, they still warrant a decisive, regular match- winner.
In the absence of a Kylian Mbappe, a Lionel Messi, a Neymar, or indeed a Harry Kane, the trainer might believe ball domination and associative play is his platoon’s stylish armament, indeed if it miscarried in the desert.
Luis Enrique showed at Barcelona that when he’d two of those forwards, plus Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, he was willing to play in a different way, relinquishing control and allowing the forwards to inflict annihilation as his side rolled with the punches.
“We had agreed not to take possession– not out of fear,” said Morocco trainer Walid Regragui, looking back at his side’s palm.
Rather he made sure his midfield triad cut passing lines and left Spain with soft domination, which infrequently redounded in peril for his side. Spain’s 7- 0 thrashing of Costa Rica at the launch of the World Cup was long forgotten by the end, one of the rare occasions where everything falls into place that maybe keeps La Roja believing in their system.
The trainer’s contract expires in the coming weeks and he’ll bandy his future with Spanish FA chairman Luis Rubiales coming week.
Whether the 52- time-old stays or leaves will be an suggestion of Spain’s pathahead. However, anticipate him to double down on his strategy, while hoping players like Ansu Fati can step up to come the decisive armament in the final third the platoon is lacking, If Luis Enrique is still the trainer for Euro 2024.
Should he depart, Spain might start looking at other strategies, at least against opponents smart enough to keep from being enveloped by La Roja’s passing web. Know More FIFA News…