The way of Spain towards the conquest of a title nine years later, in the process of a reconstruction led by Luis Enrique Martinez, presents after executing the Sweet Revenge before the European champion at home, Italy, the challenge of the world champion, a France full of individualities, the great test of a block that shines as a team.
The brilliance exhibited by a Spain plagued by casualties that won for the first time in its history on Italian soil, reinforced the figure of Luis Enrique as coach. At the time of greatest discussion to your choices. In response to the disengagement of a part of the fans that had become excited again in a Eurocup that left the penalty of penalties when the selection showed credentials to reign again.
And you can do it in the second edition of the Nations league, a tournament of less substance than a World Cup or Eurocup but whose path exalts the merit of the conquest. The 6-0 to Germany to seal the first presence in their final to four and the football exhibited against the reigning European champion in San Siro, establish a non-negotiable philosophy of Luis Enrique that shines before great teams and must be reviewed before those of lesser entity that have torpedoed the journey to Qatar 2022. But that battle will come in November.
Before, there is a pulse that starts out like the pulse of a team before a handful of stars. Spain plays as a club rather than as a national team. As if they were training together all year. With the virtue of putting a 17-year-old boy like Gavi, 18 like Yeremy Pino, and that both play with the same pressure as in their neighborhood. None. Or hand over the control of the game to another beardless person like Pedri and the weight of the goal to Ansu Fati, absences that he already misses despite his young age.
The future of Spain is already present and the first exchange has a title opportunity, nine years after the end of the golden cycle at Euro 2012. It still remains Sergio Busquets, the great reference of all, who will equal Andrés Iniesta (131 games) and will become the fourth player with the most caps. Together with him, Koke Resurrección, César Azpilicueta, Unai Simón as the undisputed starter in the goal, assume the weight by experience.
Repeat starting team?
And appear new figures created by Luis Enrique. One with the added morbidity of the reunion with what was his team and with the coach who never gave him minutes. Aymeric Laporte, head of the Spanish defense since the recent European Championship, before Didier deschamps. In the last precedent between both teams on the French bench without minutes. In San Siro, the singing voice of the rear of Spain. Possibly repeating a pair of left-handed centrals with Pau if Luis Enrique does not resort to the greater forcefulness of Íñigo Martínez.
And in attack, the great scorer reference, Ferran torres. With 12 goals in 21 games, author of the double to Italy in a game in which he received a blow to the instep that has prevented him from training and causes him to I arrived ‘between cotton wool’ to the big date. He does not want to lose it for anything in the world and he will force it to be number 9 in the absence of Álvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno. They are two of a long list of fourteen casualties that give greater merit to the presence in the final. One day to “shut up many mouths” by Luis Enrique, as Laporte assured EFE.
The Asturian never repeated an eleven as coach and is close to doing it for the first time against a France that reaches San Siro after an epic comeback against Belgium in Turin. It went from 0-2 to 3-2 in the second half, driven by Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé and culminated by Theo Hernández in the 90th minute, with a team that continues to alternate moments of great football and others of excessive passivity.
France, without Kanté, Rabiot and Digne
Deschamps has a group of 21 players after the losses of Lucas Digne due to a muscle problem and the last minute of Adrien Rabiot, positive for coronavirus, just like N’Golo Kanté, whose contagion was already known and prevented its call for this window of international matches.
Completely beaten by Belgium in the first half of the semi-final, France reacted pushed by the leadership of Benzema, author of a great goal that reopened the clash, and by the electricity of Mbappé, who left behind the controversies that surrounded his last commitments as an international and proved capable of changing the history of a match with one play. Both and their speed are the great danger of a Spain that exerts high pressure and leaves space for the backlash.
Deschamps warned that his team will have to jump to the San Siro field with the challenge of taking possession of the ball from Spain and to do so he should confirm the 3-4-1-2 seen against Belgium, with the question of who will replace Rabiot. The Juventine midfielder was beaten by Belgium and the French coach replaced him in the second half with Aurelien Tchouameni, a talented Monaco midfielder.
The other alternative is that of Jordan Veretout, a dynamic Roma midfielder who has been playing great football for two seasons and with important scoring numbers: he scored ten goals last year and has four in seven games this season.
Mbappé, who signed the 2-2 penalty against Belgium, avenging the error in the round of 16 of the Eurocup against Switzerland, will accompany the untouchable Benzema in the lead, supported in a three-quarter line by Griezmann, who achieved precisely the maximum penalty transformed by Mbappé. The power of one of the best tridents in the world is the great threat of a Spain that finds in defense and the lack of forcefulness one of its aspects to correct.
The balance of duels in the final phases falls on the side of France, although the last precedent was the only Spanish triumph, in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 thanks to a double by Xabi Alonso. The ‘bleus’ surpassed the Red in the European Cups of 1884, 1996 and 2000 plus the 2006 World Cup.
Spain: Unai Simon; Azpilicueta, Laporte, Pau Torres, Marcos Alonso; Busquets, Koke, Gavi; Sarabia, Ferran Torres and Oyarzabal.
France: Lloris; Koundé, Varane, Lucas Hernández; Pavard, Pogba, Veretout, Theo; Griezmann; Benzema and Mbappé.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ING).
Stadium: San Siro (Milan).