The Spanish selection finished the group stage of the Eurocup fulfilling and going to the round of 16 where the Croatia national team. Those of Luis Enrique gave a ‘masterclass’ against Slovakia to secure the classification as second, thrashing and liking each other, something very necessary after the enormous doubts that have surrounded the team in recent weeks.
Spain seems to have already reached the Eurocup. Late, but just in time for the decisive phase of the tournament. The uncertainty He has been accompanying the national team since the squad list was published, following the short preparation with only one game and with the first two games that did not convince this team could be a candidate for the title.
The debut against Sweden left a bitter taste. The team showed a good game, but great shortcomings, not only to score, but also to generate chances. The game flowed like a charm until it reached three-quarters of the court, where except on rare occasions from Jordi Alba and Koke, Spain got stuck and didn’t know what to do with the ball.
Finally, the Red stumbled in the first meeting with 86% of the possession … but only five shots on goal. Furthermore, the few arrivals enjoyed by the Swedes generated more danger than they should have given a worrying sense of defensive weakness, especially against.
That flat and bland game was reflected in the next game, against Poland, although at least the first goal of Spain in the tournament could be celebrated. The inclusion of Gerard Moreno in the eleven by popular acclaim gave the team a little more verticality, but the feelings were still not good. Morata, the most criticized in the previous game, retaliated scoring in the first part, giving tranquility to the selection, but in the second the chaos returned and with the chaos, more doubts.
Lewandowski tied the game for Poland shortly after the break, but just two minutes later, the referee signaled penalty for the Red. However, this has ended up being the National Team’s greatest enemy in recent games, along with a locked-in team such as its first two rivals. The duo Gerard Moreno – Morata disappointed, with the first failing the maximum penalty and the second rejecting an empty goal, condemning Spain to a new puncture.
The Relationship with the fans didn’t seem to help either, with the high point of the “confrontation” between the two before the duel against Poland, when the fans went to the concentration hotel to say goodbye to the players and only Jordi Alba stretched out his arm a little to say hello to those present. The lack of leaders and big stars, along with the feeling of being a selection with little charisma only worsened the atmosphere that surrounded the team.
However, Luis Enrique’s men showed their character this Wednesday in a match in which they played everything to a card. In front, a Slovakia that despite being on paper the worst team in the group, it was worth a draw to be in the eighth, and that made fear that they would also lock up and greatly complicate the match against Spain.
Nothing could be further from reality, since the Selection, finally, returned to convince and demonstrate his best football. It was not easy at all, since in the game itself things got very uphill, at least in the spirit. The curse of penalties He got in the way of La Roja again, this time Morata being the one who missed from eleven meters.
After two very clear plays in which Spain forgave to open the scoring, a favor from Dubravka took the pressure off the team and they finally played their best game. Of course, the coach’s changes were key to this turning point, with the Busquets balance in the medullary, the Azpilicueta security in defense and the particular bet of Luis Enrique, Sarabia, who was one of the best of La Roja in the attack.