Luis de la Fuente’s power at the helm of Spain’s senior team has always been under scrutiny. Rarely, in any case, in his short period in La Roja, was his position so in check as after the defeat against Scotland on March 28. The old formula that he had exported from the U21, that is, mass rotations – in Hampden Park he made eight changes compared to the team that had beaten Norway in his debut on the bench of the major league – crashed against Steve Clarke’s team . So, the rumors. “In life you learn everything. I don’t consume so much press anymore. I only do it if they are good things,” said the Spain coach. It seemed like a joke, but it wasn’t. “I have more time to play sports and watch football.” This Thursday, Scotland visits the La Cartuja Stadium (8:45 p.m., La1). However, De la Fuente is not the same, nor is his team.
“The team has improved in all facets of the game. “They are data,” said De la Fuente. In that match against Scotland, La Roja attempted eight shots, three on goal. In the last four duels he has averaged 25 shots (8.25 between the three posts). “We have many more options on the extremes. The midfielders are the best in the world and we defend well,” he said. “But,” added the coach; “Above all, we have improved as a team. That’s what interests me: a team.”
It happens, in any case, that the stability that Spain has achieved in defense – since Glasgow that De la Fuente has not moved Laporte and Le Normand in the axis of the defense – contrasts with the number of forwards it uses: in its six games it has 18 attackers have been called up, the last being Bryan Zaragoza, who has nine games in the First Division with Granada. “I came from a great game [le marcó dos goles al Barça] and we thought he was the best player for this moment,” the coach justified. They explain at the Red team’s concentration in Seville that the coach clings to some names in defense “because he doesn’t have anything else”, while he takes advantage of the versatility of the forwards. “We have great offensive potential,” confirmed De la Fuente. An idea that they insist on staff: “We want to attack in different ways, with open wingers, with players with changed legs, adding a fourth midfielder…”.
Against Scotland, Spain faces the possibility of erasing all doubts: if it beats Steve Clarke’s team, it would be enough with a draw against Norway next Sunday to seal the visa for Germany 2024. “We want to find balance, being ourselves,” said De la Fuente. The problem is that Scotland’s toughness in defense (only one goal conceded) will measure Spain’s offensive power (18 goals), diminished by the losses of Asensio, Dani Olmo, Pino and Lamine Yamal, to which are added the Nico Williams’ discomfort. There will not be a flurry of changes with respect to the eleven that beat Cyprus (6-0) in the last duel. Neither vendetta against Scotland. “We don’t see it as a revenge. Just a soccer game that we have the obligation to win,” De la Fuente concluded.
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