Luis Enrique’s Spain addresses this Sunday at San Siro (21.00 TVE1) the possibility of proclaiming themselves champion of the second edition of the League of Nations. The competition, still incipient, does not have a pedigree or the tradition that the passage of time grants, but to conquer it, the Red one will have passed over the heraldry of Germany, Italy and France, its respected rival this Sunday from the muscle that exhibits the trio Benzema, Mbappé and Griezmann. A title is a title and this, after the semifinals of the European Championship, would be another boost for the reconstruction undertaken by Luis Enrique. After the entry into a spin that continued to the glorious four-year period 2008-2012 (two Euro Cups and a World Cup), the Red would confirm its return to the front row of the international concert.
There is a conviction in the Spanish expedition that France is the rival that can most explore the limits of the non-negotiable and daring style with which Spain operates under the command of Luis Enrique. Among the coaching staff the consensus is generalized that the selection directed by the pragmatic Didier Deschamps combines two of the characteristics that can cause the most problems for Spain. On the one hand, the physical power of the French defenders and midfielders will examine the ability to collide and maneuver with the ball of the Spanish, line by line lighter than the French. On the other hand, the vertiginous transitions that his stellar forwards can unfold are the other great threat that will put the Asturian coach’s script to the test. The best virtues of France are the nemesis of the Spain of Luis Enrique, who has always carried the doubt of how he will support his idea against the great teams.
The daring advance of the defensive line to the center of the field may be favorable terrain for the stellar French offensive trident. “If we draw a game plan, surely no one wants balls to get lost to avoid transitions,” says realistic forward Mikel Oyarzabal.
Luis Enrique and his assistants have no doubts that Spain will put France in their field and that possession will also be conquered by the Spanish players. The duel has been prepared under that premise. “Can anyone believe that we are going to play against it?”, They wonder with irony from the Spanish concentration fixed in a hotel near San Siro. “It can be a good definition that they need very little to score. Individually, it is the best selection in the world. The potential of those at the top is indisputable, they can win a game with little, but we are not going to change one iota of what has brought us here, our ambition, the pressure ahead and our quality ”, warns the coach from Gijón.
Luis Enrique has made a flag of his insistence not to adulterate his idea of attacking, pressing in the opposite field and opening the opposing defenses from the handling of the ball. The Asturian coach has worked on how to dismantle the line of five defenses that France wore against Belgium. The task is to generate spaces to overcome Varane, Koundé and Lucas in the middle and Pavard and Theo Hernández on the sides.
“Defending with the ball if we are able to get ahead on the scoreboard is an option. There is only one ball on the field and if we have it where we want to be, we can generate problems for its spectacular defensive line, ”Luis Enrique predicts. Questioned the Spanish coach if he preferred a withdrawn France or that he went to look for Spain in his area, he preferred to hide it. “I’m not going to give clues, it was just missing, with how good they are!” Exclaimed the Spanish coach, “but we are prepared if they come to pressure us up or if they stand in the middle block as they usually do,” he continued.
Luis Enrique would not mind that France opted to press the exit of the Spanish ball. Among the convictions that the analysis of the French team has provided is that only Griezmann has internalized the effort necessary to carry out an advanced pressure. It is considered that both Benzema and Mbappé do not have as much capacity for sacrifice as the Atlético striker and that both tend to stay lower to propel the counterattacks. There is also the certainty that Spain has recently managed to overcome three of the teams (Italy, Germany and Switzerland) that most and best overwhelm the output of the ball from the rivals.
“If we achieve the result it will be through our weapons. If we don’t make it, it will be a good touchstone. Winning a final with the national team is something we do not know. Only some of those here have been so lucky. Recovering those airs of victory would be good ”, concluded Luis Enrique.
Ferran is doubtful and Rabiot, down due to covid-19
Until half an hour before the final, Luis Enrique will not know if he will be able to count on his top scorer. Ferran Torres, 12 goals in 21 games with La Roja, has not trained in the three days after the semifinal with Italy. The Manchester City striker drags a blow to the ball of his right foot. “It will be the player who decides, we are not going to force anyone. He will say when he goes out to warm up how he looks like sensations. Always without taking any risk. If not, he will not play and another teammate will come out who will surely want to participate ”, explained the Spanish coach. If Luis Enrique only has the doubt of Ferran Torres, the French coach Didier Deschamps has a safe loss. Midfielder Adrien Rabiot did not travel from Turin to Milan after testing positive for covid-19.
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