Sandwiched between the neoclassical and baroque architecture of Tsarist Saint Petersburg, the majestic Astoria Hotel serves as the headquarters of the Spanish national team. The history of the luxurious establishment relates that Adolf Hitler intended to celebrate the splendor of the occupation of the city inside its winter gardens. Convinced that the invasion of Leningrad at that time would not be prolonged excessively in time, the invitations were distributed in advance among the German and European Phil-Nazi elites. They were never used.
Against a presumed excess of confidence because Switzerland is not the despondent France, Luis Enrique has battled in the days leading up to this Friday’s appointment. The Spanish coach remembers the two Nations League matches in which Spain suffered to win in Valdebebas (1-0) and drew in Basel (1-1). “Switzerland has passed and the good thing or the bad thing is that the two teams know each other well. As a block it is one of the best teams in the Eurocup, because of how they press and attack. The same for the fans they do not have many names, but it will be very complicated, “warned the Spanish coach in his appearance this Thursday.
After the debate on the lack of a goal after the 10 goals scored against Slovakia and Croatia and settled in the middle of the field the trio Koke, Busquets, Pedri, is the defense of the Red line that has not yet finished exploding. The two goals conceded against the Croats in seven minutes that led the match to extra time have been analyzed by the coaching staff. “Regarding the review of the goals conceded, the attitude of the team is very good, but it is true that there were some individual errors,” said Luis Enrique. At 3-2, Orsic’s, Modric won the baseline inside the area with ease. Pasalic’s header in the front of the small area caught Pau Torres confused and paralyzed. Swedes and Poles have already shown on the few occasions that they attacked that Spain’s desire to go to pressure the rival in their area carries risks. Still, Luis Enrique maintains the strength of his team: “We are one of the best teams in defense, I complained about what we did with the ball in those last minutes.”
Defense is the most volatile line in Spain in this European Championship. Aymeric Laporte, along with goalkeeper Unai Simón, is the only component who has played all four games from the start. The two sides have suffered alterations. On the right, Llorente played the first two games against Sweden and Poland. Azpilicueta took the spot against Slovakia and Croatia. On the left flank, Jordi Alba was the owner in the three appointments of the first phase. Against the Croats, Gayà was the starter used. In the center of defense, Laporte has had Pau Torres as a partner twice and Eric García twice.
Again, the doubt of the lawn
The Laporte-Eric duo has broken with the transgression of the two left-handed centrals with which Luis Enrique broke into the championship. The couple, who have been shot from the years they have lived together at Manchester City, have more acquired automatisms than any other that the Asturian coach could choose. “We complement each other very well in every way. For example, at the exit of the ball, since I am left-handed and he is right-handed, ”says Laporte, who declared his appearance closed with a sharp yes when asked which of the two profiles he felt more comfortable with. Due to the high pressure that Switzerland practices, Eric García, Laporte and Unai Simón will be highly demanded in the game with their feet. And Luis Enrique advises them not to whip themselves with the mistakes they made by appealing to the memory of a fish and hoping that the stadium grass does not play a trick on them. In three days, Spain has not trained at the Saint Petersburg stadium as the grass has been punished for its recent use. The coliseum has hosted six matches in the first phase, three in group B and three in E, and the organization has decided to preserve it. “It is not the best grass, but it is not bad,” they say in the federation.
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