An unexpected defeat, with the worst sensations that Spain ever showed with Luis Enrique on the bench, just 60 days before the World Cup, against a physically superior Switzerland that punished the defensive fragility of La Roja (1-2), caused the loss of the leadership of the Spanish team and forces them to beat Portugal at home to access the final phase of the League of Nations.
The radiant image of Luis Enrique the day before due to the level of his players in training, the best he saw in his double stage as coach, as he stated, contrasted with the coach’s crooked gesture the day that ‘his’ Spain was less Spain than never.
No high pressure or overwhelming dominance. Without effective possession or imbalance. Without the defensive security he seemed to achieve on his last two dates. And with few goals, without even testing Sommer in the first act, who responded well to the desperate final attempts. A worrying defeat due to the form two months before the great challenge and everything points to Luis Enrique’s last in office.
Spain played without 9 having Álvaro Morata and Borja Iglesias. Marco Asensio’s test as a tip did not work. He always had his back to the goal, losing his virtue of appearing with the goal in front of him to show off his left foot in the shot. The bet of the trident was clear. Asensio’s mobility to get the physically strong central defenders out of the zone, two wingers glued to the lime -Ferran Torres disconnected and Pablo Sarabia- and the second line entry of Gavi and Pedri by surprise.
What happened in the first act should serve as a lesson for the World Cup. On a big date it can send you home, especially defensive fragility. Spain is constipated with three drops of water fallen from the sky of Zaragoza. Fragile and with a lack of intensity in the brand in the goal that put everything against him.
It was Switzerland that had warned with a shot above Sow, a distant shot from Xhaka, when Azpilicueta lost Akanji’s mark in the 21st minute and Pau Torres did not arrive in time to avoid the header to the squad.
The passage of the team is marked by Pedri, far from his usual brilliance, unknown in a risky pass that provoked a rival counter, kneading the ball excessively, without giving the game the rhythm that the team demands. It was Gavi who struggled, stole, fought every ball and hit everyone.
Physically inferior, the punishment could have been greater on the brink of the break if Unai Simón had not taken a firm hand down on Shaqiri when the Swiss found a corridor without anyone getting on top of him before shooting. He had to change the identity of Spain in the restart and he tried it from the intensity, putting more verticality into his game.
As soon as he approached his signs of identity and Asensio came out of his cage, he invented a brilliant action, leaving with a turn by Elvedi to see football face to face and attend the arrival of Jordi Alba who placed his left foot in the top corner against the roar of La Romareda.
The big prize for the slight improvement should have gone to Spain, but the reality was the opposite due to a new defensive error. Again in a corner. Once again a marking error against Akanji, this time by Busquets at the near post, before Embolo sent the ball into the net at the goalmouth. Three minutes the joy had lasted.
Asensio was unleashed, testing Sommer’s security, when Luis Enrique took him off the field and went on to his plan b. new trident. The search for overflow in bands with dribblers like Yeremy Pino and Nico Williams, for the first time as Borja Iglesias at the top. New pieces to fit into adversity.
He had been able to sentence Switzerland due to the doubt Unai Simón overlooked in a center from the side, reacting quickly to his mistake, when the game was already led to the continuous search for the goal from the impulse, with more heart than football. Nico Williams put it to always face and put centers. The change of Marcos Llorente for Pedri spoke for itself on the day that Luis Enrique moved further away from his script.
For push, not for football, Spain deserved a draw that would have changed their outlook on the last day in no way. Steffen was about to put into his own goal a bad transfer to his goalkeeper who was firm against Borja Iglesias’ cross shot, Marcos Llorente’s shot and Carlos Soler’s shot down in the last breath that did not prevent a defeat that Spain did not savored from local to official match in the last five years.
– Data sheet:
1 – Spain: Unai Simon; Azpilicueta (Carlos Soler, m.87), Eric García, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Gavi, Pedri (Marcos Llorente, m.70); Sarabia (Nico Williams, m.64), Ferran Torres (Yeremy Pino, m.64) and Marco Asensio (Borja Iglesias, m.64).
2 – Switzerland: Sommer; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Ricardo Rodríguez (Steffen, m.46); Freuler, Granit Xhaka, Sow (Zakaria, d.68); Rubén Vargas (Aebischer, m.78), Shaqiri (Ndoye, m.68) and Embolo (Seferovic, m.86).
Goals: 0-1, m.21: Akanji. 1-1, m.55: Jordi Alba. 1-2, m.58: Plunger.
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA). He booked Akanji (44) for Switzerland.
Incidents: match of the penultimate day of the League of Nations played at La Romareda before 31,809 spectators (full).