SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) – Spain supervisor Luis Enrique enjoys punishing himself with ultra-marathons within the Sahara desert and cycle rides up the craggy mountain roads of Asturias.
Watching his crew’s laboured progress up to now at Euro 2020 is turning into a feat of endurance for the nation’s soccer followers too.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Poland, similar to their opening 0-0 stalemate with Sweden, confirmed up a worrying lack of spontaneity in a Spain aspect that seems extra involved with not giving the ball away than truly risking doing something inventive with it.
As in opposition to Sweden after they tried 917 passes and loved 85% possession — the very best numbers seen at a European Championship since 1980 — they dominated the ball in opposition to Poland, however had little to point out for his or her toil.
With Villarreal’s striker Gerard Moreno, scorer of 30 objective for his membership final season, added to the beginning lineup, Spain initially appeared as if that they had extra innovative.
It was Moreno’s shot that was turned in by Alvaro Morata within the twenty fifth minute to present Spain the lead and Moreno ought to have added a second objective earlier than halftime.
Spain have been rocked by Robert Lewandowski’s towering headed equaliser within the 54th minute however got a right away probability to reclaim the lead, just for Moreno to smack a penalty in opposition to the publish and Morata to make a hash of the rebound.
After that Spain appeared timid in assault and ran out of concepts — and their pissed off followers in Seville might solely hark again to the times when the wizardry of the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Silva could possibly be relied upon to unlock defences.
On present proof this Spain crew can’t even be relied upon to flee Group E. With two factors they’re third behind leaders Sweden (4 factors) and Slovakia (three).
In the event that they fail to seek out some inspiration for his or her conflict with Slovakia subsequent week and don’t win, Spain’s first ‘dwelling’ match for the reason that 1982 World Cup faces an ignominious finish.
It’s the first time since 1996 that Spain have did not win a minimum of considered one of their opening two video games at a Euros.
And make no mistake, having watched Spain’s two video games up to now, Slovakia won’t be quaking of their boots.
“We aren’t seeing the Spain we’re used to, the place is the physicality or management, like a Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, when issues went incorrect they stepped it up,” former Germany striker Juergen Klinsmann, summarising for the BBC, stated.
“Now when it goes incorrect, they’re taking a look at one another and pushing away the accountability — just like the penalty.”
Luis Enrique has choices within the squad akin to Liverpool’s Thiago and Paris St Germain’s Pablo Sarabia and jet-heeled winger Adama Traore, who has not performed a minute up to now, however he’s a cussed particular person and is unlikely to alter the system.
However the coach clearly expects extra from his gamers.
“I assumed we would be able to impose ourselves extra — however we could not,” he stated. “A consequence usually covers up flaws in a efficiency. When the consequence is not optimistic, it requires even nearer evaluation. It hasn’t left us with the perfect feeling.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Enhancing by Ken Ferris)