Signs that coach is worried about tiki-taka
BEING a soccer coach is a high-pressure job and being a World Cup-winning coach even more so, if Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain side are anything to go by.
Petrified of Barcelona’s slide, he went schizophrenic selecting anything and everything.
His previous squads, built not on his doing but Barca’s success, were about tiki-taka football.
Of course he had the power and strength of Fernando Torres. That was all the brawn he could accommodate in his previous teams.
Now there are Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, David De Gea (goalkeepers); Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Raul Albiol, Juan
Juanfran Torres, Jordi Alba, Daniel Carvajal, Alberto Moreno, Cesar Azpilicueta (defenders); Javi Martinez, Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Jorge Koke, Sergio Busquets, Santi Cazorla, Ander Iturraspe, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Juan Mata, David Silva, Pedro Rodriguez, Jesus Navas (midfielders); and Diego Costa, David Villa, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente (strikers).
This is a provisional team and he will eventually trim it down to 23. Most of the brawn may still lose out.
Here are strange selections of holding midfielders of varying degrees, named from most to least defensive.
Martinez is a bit-part holding midfielder for Bayern.
Iturraspe is a rising star in the Bilbao side.
Alonso is the lynchpin for Real Madrid.
Koke is a good passer, like Alonso, but his work rate, hustling and marking make him defensive. Busquets is the only defensive midfielder at Barca.
Fabregas is not so much a marker or defensive midfield as a disruptor.
Thiago can do a job by falling behind the ball out of possession.
But it is in the final third where Del Bosque has stepped right out of the norm. Villa can play ball and interchange with his midfielders but the rest are only about power Torres and Negredo even have nicknames El Nino and Beast, respectively to illustrate what they are about.
This is a serious departure from the Spanish model and signals a coach worried that the tiki-taka he inherited from Pep Guardiola’s Barca is dead, so he is reverting to what he knows and has executed well at Real Madrid direct football. The addition of Navas is very telling here.
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