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Spain: From the conquest at Johannesburg to the devastation at Moscow

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 17:51 IST

Julen Lopetegui and Spain: The movie which didn't release

Girona FC v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
Lopetegui implied his possession-based football at Spain

Spain approached Julen Lopetegui, to take over the managerial duties from Del Bosque. Lopetegui wanted to keep possession football alive. He had a long-term vision and he tried to build his squad for the 2018 World Cup. Lopetegui’s Spain were always on the attack. He was well aware of the defensive errors that come from fatigue, and thus his attacking instructions left Pique and Ramos at little ease. He got Spain well rounded as a team. They made some amazing exchange of passes in the final third. The fullbacks Alba and Carvajal pushed up the flanks, while midfielders crowded in the middle, trying to expose a player free.

Lopetegui’s Spain was always on to the right track for the World Cup. He instilled his team with in-form players always, very open to changes, which wasn’t seen under Del Bosque. Lopetegui used the full potential of young players, like Iago Aspas, Isco Alarcon, Nacho and Marco Asensio. The Argentina versus Spain game, prior to the World Cup, gave full insights into the talent of Spain. They flanked the wings, retained possession, tried to win back the ball as soon as they lose it. Spain completely outclassed, a Messi-less Argentina, in a merciless 6-0 rout.

Lopetegui though chose to sign a Real Madrid contract, two days before the World Cup. All the hard work he had done, just to get the balance right, all down the drain in one moment. Spain sacked Lopetegui, one day before the spectacle of football began. Lopetegui and Spain were all set for the World Cup, in full throttle, but Lopetegui’s decision to sign the contract and Real Madrid’s blunder of announcing it before the World Cup was a complete disarray.

Published 20 Sep 2018, 05:07 IST
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