World Cup 2018: 5 things Hierro should look at fixing for Spain
was an amazing game last night - the Iberian derby between La Selecao of Portugal and its neighbours La Furia Roja of Spain.
It was a match that had everything: Cristiano Ronaldo underlining his G.O.A.T credentials with a hattrick, Diego Costa battering everyone and everything to grab a brace, Isco delighting the world with his silky smooth dribbling skills, the supposed “best goalkeeper” in the world: David de Gea making howlers and so much more.
After the fiasco of the Julen Lopetegui announcement as the new Real Madrid manager and his subsequent sacking by RFEF president Luis Rubiales, it must have come as a relief when the focus switched to the actual football.
From the Spanish point of view, interim manager Fernando Hierro got his tactics and substitutions right and was only let down by bad errors from Nacho (the penalty), de Gea’s fumble and Gerard Pique’s brain fart in fouling Ronaldo for the decisive freekick.
Going into the next matches against Iran and Morocco, here are some things the manager may look to fix/try out:
#5 Get someone closer to Costa
For large parts of the match, Costa was left alone to forage Portugal’s penalty area as Isco who was supposed to be the most advanced midfielder kept dropping deep to receive the ball and assist play.
While this tactic allowed Jordi Alba and sometimes Nacho to bomb forward from the flanks, it meant that Costa was often left alone to face Pepe and Jose Fonte (the Portuguese centre-backs), though the man-beast did an amazing job.
Iran and Morocco are expected to sit deep and defend in numbers which might make Spain’s passing play through the middle more difficult to execute, as such either of Isco or David Silva will have to play as a second striker just behind Costa.
Hierro will have noted how the Iranians and Moroccans played with a 5-man midfield in their opening game and he will want to ensure that his side gets on the front foot early.