5 Talking Points from the UEFA Nations League Matches
The UEFA Nations League's first two round of fixtures was held during the course of the international break from 6-12 September 2018. The matches offered a great deal of excitement with spectacular ties like France versus Germany and Netherlands, and Spain versus Croatia.
Here are the main talking points from the action we saw over the last week.
#1 Luis Enrique's style of play will re-invent Spanish football:
Spanish football has gone through a lot of turmoil as of late. Their World Cup title bid was doomed even before the start of the tournament when then National Team Coach, Julen Lopetegui, was fired on the eve of the tournament. And, Interim Coach Fernando Hierro could only lead the demoralised Spanish team to the Round of 16, where they shockingly lost on penalties to hosts Russia.
After the retirements of Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Gerard Pique following the World Cup, regular faces like Jordi Alba, Koke, and Lucas Vazquez were surprisingly dropped from the latest squad.
Instead of the big names, the coach has shown his faith in a batch of younger players spearheaded by Isco & Marco Asensio of Real Madrid and Rodrigo & Jose Gaya of Valencia. He also fielded a central midfield stronghold featuring the experienced Sergio Busquets, Saul of Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich's Thiago who were all sublime against England.
The core of the side is composed of several key players from Real Madrid with Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernández and Dani Carvajal acting as the backbone of the team's defense.
The midfield trio also looks extremely comfortable on the ball, demonstrating that they could not only play a possession game but could also make quick incisive forward transitions.
This, combined with the excellent switching play between Isco and Asensio helped Spain during their Nations League matches in which they humbled Croatia in the second match after coming back from behind to beat England in the first match.