The wait for the Qatar World Cup will be longer than usual, but Spain continue their preparation for it by bringing excitement to the people everywhere they go to and, overall, proving that there are reasons to dream. There is a group of players that can make us believe.
The national team led by Luis Enrique face off the last phase of preparation for the big appointment with multiple options to choose from on each position and, above it all, the irruption of a new generation of talent that is capable of battling for a second star by, precisely, not being the main candidates.
This team is the typical full of quality in all its areas, full of ‘Tiki-Taka’ players and a coach that, through a classic 4-3-3 system that he never changes, just as his playing style approach, he looks to display what he thinks makes his team stronger, their biggest weapon: the ball.
Nobody doubts of the technical potential of this national team, as they are certainly one of the best out of the 32 that will take place in Qatar, but many like my case do so on some names and their possible substitutes in specific and key spots on the field that make the difference to win games. Those crucial positions that mark the thin line between success/fail.
Casillas gave us the World Cup in South Africa, today our goal is orphan of a Saint. The goal is precisely one of the most delicate areas and I would say that it is a dangerous one in Spain. Non of the ones that have passed by this position in the rebuild of the team these past years has shown a reliable secureness level towards the big games and there are not either huge alternatives that can improve what there is in the roster today.
In the end, the one who has taken over with not too much enthusiasm from the people is Unai Simón, which does a decent job but also shows some vulnerability in some aspects of the game, specially with the ball on his feet. However, this position does not really have top alternatives and might be one of Spain’s biggest handicap in the tournament.
Where there are certainly qualified and evident alternatives is in the central defenders area, another delicate one, which is packed of nice players with the ball that sometimes forget that their first mission is to defend. Secondary effects from the ball possession playing style attached to this team.
Pau Torres, Eric García, Laporte or Guillamón in this last call-up are clear examples (with the absence of Iñigo Martínez) of this trend. There are other options to add to the squad that can totally improve the defensive consistency against worldwide top national teams.
I do not understand why Raúl Albiol, who is an experienced old school defender who would add a lot of reliability backwards is never called up by Luis Enrique. Specially to play along Pau, as they both form an ideal couple between a tough defender and a nice one with the ball.
Even the remote option but not impossible at all that Gerard Piqué comes back would be a total bless for all of us. What I really believe is that Spain need one of this true defenders in Qatar.
The midfield is totally packed. They are all top players and Luis Enrique has plenty to choose from. Pedri, the ‘new Iniesta’, is also the new star of this team and the quiet leader that hopes to guide the new generation of talent. The only notable absence for now is being Sergio Canales.
There is lots of quality on the wings as well, and Dani Olmo is from my point of view the main player in this position. There are also others such as Ferran, usual scorer with Luis Enrique; Sarabia, always decisive; or other new diamonds like Yéremi Pino for naming some of them.
The last spot, which is also a key one, is the forward position. Morata is the starting ‘9’ and has opinions from both sides, but I believe that anyone with a few common sense can see that he is not always decisive when we need him like Villa was back in the days.
As we have previously claimed here, other strikers like Gerard Moreno and Raúl de Tomás should also have some opportunities.
This is how Spain is coming to the World Cup.
Main image: Twitter @SeFutbol.