The most exceptional Eurocup

Morata (left) and Sarabia, this Thursday in a training session in the Ciudad del Fútbol of Las Rozas.

There is no way for Spain to avoid the shocks in the waiting room of the big competitions. Turbulence and more turbulence. In Russia, on a sunny morning in Krasnodar, a cluster bomb fell on the Red rally. The flirtation between Real Madrid and Julen Lopetegui exploded and Spain exploded. Quite a farce. Three years later, with the planet still battered by the pandemic, the positive of Busquets has shaken the City of Soccer.

To make matters worse Luis Enrique, so Luis Enrique, preferred to enlist 24 and not 26 footballers and it turns out that he finally had to resort to 39 divided into two bubbles. I did not want saturation and the Red has ended up cramming. Far from rectifying, the coach’s chest swelled up on Thursday: “If I found out, I would have called 23.”

From top to bottom. After agitating the Government for the group to be vaccinated, it turns out that the Army medical personnel were mobilized in this regard, sudden doubts arose in the federative corpus. From improvisation to improvisation, late and bad. What if there are adverse reactions when there are only four days left for the premiere of Spain against Sweden next Monday? Single dose or nothing. In the end, Sanidad validated a single puncture. A sloppy matter that the competent authorities should have settled long ago – as was done with the Olympic team – and last minute emergencies would have been avoided. More than a European Championship, La Roja faces a Eurovirus, with the Sevillian stadium of La Cartuja as a popular vaccination center some days and others as a football fiefdom of Spain.

It would be convenient that finally vaccinated, the Red can give way to football, because the most traveling tournament in history begins this Friday. It will do so in Rome, one of the 11 venues in 10 countries set by UEFA. Italy and Turkey (21.00, Telecinco) will open the 16th edition of one of the traditionally most open championships. Up to 10 teams have been enthroned, some in the most astonishing way. Like Panenka’s Czechoslovakia in 1976, Denmark’s arrival from the beach in 1992 or the Greece of the surprising Zagorakis, the current MEP who in 2004 was elected the best player. Nothing to do with the World Cups, where the preserve is more closed: eight teams have divided the 21.

Rarely has a Eurocup been launched with a unanimous favorite. All against the France of Mbappé, Griezmann, Benzema, Dembélé, Kanté, Pogba, Varane … One superstar per position under Didier Deschamps. In the bets, the defender of the throne, the Portugal of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, also scored higher. He also opposes England in which Kane cradles such promising nursery schools as Foden, Sancho, Rashford and Bellingham. And Belgium and the traditional Germany – queen of the tournament together with Spain with three titles each – and Italy ask for passage. Of course, some of the main suitors will fall in the first phase, when France, Germany and Portugal coincide in the same group.

With less echo comes the candidacy of the Red, a selection on the Ferris wheel, so epic to overwhelm Germany (6-0 last November) as disappointing other times. Luis Enrique has had to rebuild a team that after the golden four-year period (2008-2012) has lost its footing in all competitions. Without Sergio Ramos, only Busquets refers to the times of glory and confetti.

The Asturian trainer has screened and screened to outline a notable, but irregular group, nothing left over from experience and with cracks in the areas. There is no certainty with the starting goalkeeper and on many occasions the goal has been a trip to Mars. It is time for Pedri, Ferran, Gerard Moreno, Dani Olmo, Marcos Llorente, Oyarzabal, Pau Torres … While waiting for Busquets, they must be provided with players with more reel, in the case of Jordi Alba, De Gea, Koke, Thiago and Morata.

This is how Spain arrives at the most exceptional European Championship. With limited capacity and others not. With vaccinated and unvaccinated teams, with countries more restrictive than others. Bubbles and more bubbles. A tournament before the most demanding test since the French manager Henri Delaunay conceived the event after retiring from refereeing due to a ball that chipped several teeth. Delaunay’s dream was delayed for three decades. He died before. Now, 61 years after the first European Championship, UEFA is playing against a damn virus.

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