Venezuela 0, Spain 3, Or, Hiding Behind the Result
I said on the preview that I wasn’t expecting much of this match, but even I expected something better than what we got. While the scoreline points to an easy superiority, in reality the match was a stumbling affair full of fouls, missed passes and an overall sense of ‘let’s just kick the ball about for a bit and hope we don’t die of heat-stroke’.
However, there were positive signs in the shape that Our Wise Walrus did something that he hadn’t in all recorded history: he changed his tactics.
Shifting Busquets from partnering Alonso in the double-pivot to impersonating Xavi alongside Iniesta is something that’s been tried on the club-level a couple of times before, usually with pretty decent results. When Busquets forgets to put on his acting shoes, he can not only be one of the most solid DMs out there, but also surprisingly creative further afield.
Unfortunately for Del Bosque’s plans to study tactics, the match took a much rougher turn soon after the start. Within 10 minutes, two players from Venezuela had yellow cards and Villa and Pedrito were playing midfielders in order to counter the heavy pressure -delivered mostly in the shape of foulds, but still- that the ‘vinotinto‘ was putting on our midfield.
First goal came from one of those fouls, which led to a FK that Villa, aided by the sun and the wind and the, uh, lack of abilities of the Venezuelan goalie, sneaked in. Then came Villa again, assisting Pedro with a one-two that Barça fans spotted with a warm sense of recognition. And then, another foul, another FK, and this time it was Captain Xabi Alonso beating the goalie -why doesn’t this guy take the FKs at Real Madrid? He’s pretty good at them!
There were changes at the HT: the stars of the match against the USMNT, Silva and Cazorla, came in for Iniesta and Alonso, while Sevilla’s Manu del Moral got his debut for La Roja coming in for goal-scorer David Villa. And a few minutes later, Torres was give another chance for Llorente, and Capdevila replaced Arbeloa.
Pedro——–Torres——-Manu del Moral
But now Venezuela were throwing themselves with abandon into the match, trying to score at least one goal to redeem them in front of the home crowd, and the Spain players seemed more interested in asking for cold water from the sidelines and try not to be injured. The Marchena-Albiol pair tried their best, but it was Valdés who kept his goal safe with a great performance -whatever our full-back situation, we are spoiled when it comes to world-class keepers.
And Casillas, who must be looking at his international appearances record and whispering ‘my preciousssss’, came in with two minutes left to cash in his 121st cap. Well, at least the crowd was happy to see him.
And that’s it. A good result, if not a particularly good match, some new players, and no apparent injuries. La Roja goes on holidays, but this blog stays at work, if only because the U21s European Championship starts this week, with La Rojita facing England on Sunday to kick-off the group stage.
Until then… ¡A POR ELLOS!
Comments are closed
MORE EUROPE BLOGS
1,026 articles | 12,643 comments
201 articles | 1,850 comments
196 articles | 324 comments
1,035 articles | 5,228 comments
687 articles | 5,278 comments
1,063 articles | 32,761 comments
2,566 articles | 73,523 comments
489 articles | 7,796 comments
562 articles | 10,664 comments
208 articles | 1,511 comments
347 articles | 3,327 comments
227 articles | 386 comments
270 articles | 452 comments
119 articles | 14,863 comments
231 articles | 217 comments
134 articles | 2,134 comments
129 articles | 124 comments
112 articles | 166 comments
16 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 314 comments
78 articles | 281 comments
111 articles | 122 comments
72 articles | 149 comments
4 articles | 8 comments
49 articles | 59 comments
62 articles | 17 comments
52 articles | 112 comments
33 articles | 28 comments
18 articles | 20 comments
43 articles | 133 comments