Spain lucky after Japan defeat but second chance at World Cup


Doha, Qatar — Jordi Alba Ran to him with bad news. Boys, we’re out. what everyone talks about spain Might be able to take an easy route into the knockout rounds, and might be able to rebound Germany Into the Abyss… Now they were on the edge of annihilation. Suddenly a tornado struck and they fell behind, unable to regain control. Japan Had scored twice to take the lead in their last Group E game. Luis Enrique said after the match, “And if they needed three, they got three.” Selection Koch said, had entered “collapse mode”.

compressed mode. This makes it sound like an alternative, a strategic plan B – precisely one of the things Spain is accused of lacking. Like it’s something they can choose to do, a choice, one of their things. And maybe, if not intentionally, what makes the defeat against Japan worrisome.

After all, it worked out pretty well on Thursday night. so well, in fact, that a conspirator or even just those of a fickle mind might imagine that it is actually was a scheme. A clever trick. Ok guys, collapse mode! And with it everyone pretends to be terrible. Hugo Sánchez was among many who suggested that Spain may have done this intentionally. Eventually, the result was actually quite cool. Germany’s comeback against Costa Rica This meant that Spain survived in the end, finishing in second place. All the things they may have been able to engineer, they actually did in the end – in an elaborate and dramatic way.

  • They had ousted Germany, a potential challenger out of their way. Kai Havertz Spain was turned back in and Spain did nothing to return the favor.

  • They had gone into the easy half of the draw. In theory, at least. (Though look at the whole thing and it’s not so clear, at the risk of making assumptions anyway). they play Morocco round of 16 on Tuesday, and then possibly Portugal — Instead Croatiaand then maybe Brazil Beyond that

  • They get an extra day’s rest. (And it’s a recurring theme – it’s really worth asking why the team that wins the group comfortably earns one less day of rest than the team that finishes second).

  • He probably got the reminder on time too. an alarm as a protector pau torres called him

Or, to follow the conspiratorial line, it was proof that they can manage everything and bend the football at will, so they’re that good.

It would be awesome if this was intentional, but it conveys control over the situation far more than it actually does. And control There’s a word that drives Spain manager Luis Enrique crazy. Not that they got themselves out of trouble, Germany did – although it’s also true that Spain didn’t need it until the last minute, and by then, they might actually have come second. Luis Enrique was furious with the way he played, and told him so after the game.

The question now is whether this was a one-off, and how much of an impact Japan’s defeat would have.

For about a week, some Spain players – and, in fairness, a lot of people who aren’t Spain players – have said there’s no one in this World Cup who plays like them, no one better than them. Is. In 90 minutes at the Khalifa International Stadium – quite a bit, actually – he disappeared. As one front-page headline back home put it: “Spain on the Couch.” Luis Enrique tries to say it could be a punch in the face, to realize it is the World Cup; The risk is that instead, it’s a blow to their confidence that they don’t.

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There was something in this game that raised old questions about the mindset. Is a team where the coach is the leader enough on the pitch? There was a kind of panic when he felt that he himself was going out. pedi admitted to. Not much reaction, not much spark. Then there was the physical question. When they were pressed by Japan they could not match the intensity.

Yet perhaps there is something else about the system; Less about physique and psychology, more about style of play. Maybe even about levels.

Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: Since they were champions in 2010, Spain have won only three World Cup matches out of 10 they’ve played: against Australia, Iran and Costa Rica. They walk this fine and very awkward line between being incredibly nice and, well, not being. He has scored six times against Croatia, Germany and Argentina In recent years, however, fought against Greece and Kosovo.

It is hard to know what they will be except that it is clear, at least in intent, that they are. Clearer than any other team. And it was best expressed not by players from Spain, but by players from Japan.

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Spain manager Luis Enrique has backed Lionel Messi to win the World Cup before he retires.

japan guard Maya Yoshida After the match, the Spanish forward was seen smiling with Alvaro Morata’s shirt on his shoulder. After the ball went out of bounds, it took a long time to decide whether to give Japan a goal. “Oh, it’s been a long time, Mamma Mia. I’ve been praying a lot,” he said. Something else was going on in his mind, he also admitted. “Since 1998, when there have been two big teams in a group, they have never been both,” Yoshida continued. “That was evidence, so we had enormous confidence. That figure gives you confidence. It was just me, I didn’t tell anybody: I ​​read some article and got it in my head.”

But it was less about belief or statistics; It was more of a plan. Clear, simple and effective. Japan’s captain said, “Are you surprised? I’m not surprised.” They waited until intermission, and then applied what they had learned.

“If you play fast players on the counter-attack and you close up space, it’s always difficult. That’s our plan, we had to defend well because their possession was really good and we tried to counter-attack. Tried it and they were struggling,” Yoshida explained. “We saw the game between Spain and Germany and both goalkeepers have really good distribution. Against Germany, we tried not to put too much pressure because [Manuel] Neuer is one of the best distribution goalkeepers. This time, we did. We could press higher. We played well in the second half and we made good counter-attacks. It was a great plan.”

Re-read that line on goalkeepers and it says a lot. we saw weakness, in other words. And they won’t be alone. Looking at Morocco, it’s tempting to suggest that while Spain are certainly favorites – and to judge by the draw, they may feel they really should make it to the semi-finals – they could be exactly the kind of team that Selection There are difficulties with, and that the same approach can be applied.

It’s clear what Spain will do, not least because their managers keep saying so. His style consists of the risks he embraces; On balance, they think, it’s better. Even when they are under pressure.

Luis Enrique said, “Starting to play long balls, defending deep, closing off off-space can be.” “But you know what? If we play like this, Spain doesn’t look any different.”

“The players I pick are not the players to play the long ball, to boot the pitch, to do all the defending. The players I pick, and the players I hope to win things in the future. are players whose game is to keep the ball in their own half, to keep it in the opposition’s half, to open up the pitch if they press us, to keep the ball near the goalkeeper and even if the fans have a heart attack, draw in their strikers so we can get the ball out the way we want. It’s all based on a clear footballing idea: If we play like this we’re better than our opponents. If If we play the long ball, many teams will beat us.”

And if they don’t, they probably will too. Japan, at least, had taken note. With Kubo it was even more obvious.

“We had a plan: we know that Spain does not have the same physicality as Germany and we left it until the second half to surprise them,” he said. “Until half time, we pressed only a couple of times and I didn’t even fear them in the first half: they weren’t particularly dangerous. In the second half, we pushed higher. We know that Spain, because of the pride Either the plan or their strategy, won’t last long. Any other team would have done that with high pressure but Spain didn’t and that cost us two goals.”

Any other team, Kubo said, would have sent the ball tomar por kulo, Roughly translated, booted it — out there. Spain didn’t, and for a few fateful minutes, it was them who were out there. Now he has a second chance.

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