A forceps-lit tournament for UEFA has come to pearls the depressing Spain that left the World Cup in Russia with a new overdose of pessimism metabolized to the bone. That Red, desnorted since the intrusion of Real Madrid and the frightened one of Julen Lopetegui, has found a vent in the intricate League of Nations. A victory this Monday against England (Benito Villamarín, 20.45, La 1) would mean for the recruits of Luis Enrique seal their participation in the final four to be played the first week of June next year in Portugal, Italy or Poland. In passing, Spain can win a ticket for a playoff if it does not qualify directly for the Euro Cup in 2020.
Far above such objectives, without too much cachet and with such a distant horizon, this League of Nations has allowed the Red to alleviate somewhat the anxiety of the Russian championship and face without sound swords the renewal that drives Luis Enrique. The opposite of what Germany has done, that this time does not serve as an example. The team of Joachim Löw, the other great fallen in Russia, has tried to perpetuate itself with the hanger of its previous success in 2014. Löw and his nomenclature have obviated that in football the echo of oblivion prevails. He knew Spain when he shot from South Africa to Rio de Janeiro.
There is no League of Nations that can alleviate the Spanish blow in Russia, sainete included with the exit of Lopetegui by the gatera. But, at least, the victories at Wembley and Cardiff and the win against Croatia have deserved that the team has a truce. Fundamental so that the new coach can tackle the ghosts while hitting the score and its interpreters. In his experimental period, Luis Enrique is aware that the fans ended up revolting the touch-tap of altar boys that made him go astray to Spain in Moscow. The Asturian was never a devotee of that faith either, but in these first three games he has been able to inject the short game with long lights. For now, the Red has another march, nothing to sing to itself a simplistic lullaby with the ball.
As for the actors, nothing has been more conclusive than the house arrest by Jordi Alba. De Gea, Sergio Ramos and Busquets guard the central security corridor, waiting for the consolidation of a half point (predictably Isco, today injured) and settle a nine before the unreliability of Comet Diego Costa. Saúl, Ceballos and Rodrigo (Valencia) also aim high in this first transit of Luis Enrique, today with more nurseries in Madrid and Atlético than in his Barça.
While the selector threatens, Spain is waiting for an England that has not just taken off. In fact, he only did it in 1966. Since then it has been a wasteland, but the Anglo-Saxon propaganda and the resonance of the Premier keep it with shoehorn in the elite. Gareth Southgate, his coach, is no stranger to outside influence in English football, whose indoor teams are guarded by Guardiola, Pochettino, Klopp, Sarri, Mourinho … In the first row, except for the tics United, no trace of football-rugby that for over a century have been burned to the English. Unfortunately for Southgate, England does not just need to sponge other schools. Neither has high-skilled bachelors, much as in the last World Cup, with so much mess, climbed to the semifinals.
In Sevilla, sanctioned Stones and Henderson, in front will be Kane, a renowned scorer who chained six dry matches. So much diving Southgate, who has enlisted Jadon Sancho, apprentice of Borussia Dortmund that at 18 years and 201 days is already the second youngest English international in history after Duncan Edwards, genius of United who died with 21 years in the plane crash team in Munich, in 1958.
If England explores a more unrecognizable England, Spain investigates a new Spain that does not entirely reject the manual that enthroned it. Rather, a contemporary review puts it back in value. In it is Luis Enrique, whom the time tunnel returns today to June 7, 1995. That was the last international match at Villamarín. A Spain of violins flourished then, but of furious drums. Sometimes so insubstantial that in that visit Spain only beat Armenia 1-0 and penalty. Futuristic wink? Marked Hierro and Luis Enrique was the first to embrace him. That Spain of the Luis Enrique soccer player still would take 13 years to leave afloat and to make summit in Vienna. Today, the Luis Enrique coach has found a float in this League of Nations. An appointment that entails a domestic break that amazes the fans for their intrusion in the League and the Champions, passion crops until the next big events of selections. But after the melons of Russia 2018, in the Red any consolation is welcome. As Luis Enrique said yesterday: "Everything is perfect".