Spain advances in this infinite group stage of the Nations League almost without rest, today already installed in Malaga after flying directly from Geneva and facing the eve of the last hurdle, again against the Czech Republic. The long-awaited first victory came against Switzerland, a necessary balm after the two previous draws and a reinforcement to continue fighting for the competition, even if the sensations left by the national team did not provoke an attack of euphoria. The improvement in the defensive aspect, Achilles' heel against the Czechs, is highly applauded. Diego Llorente and Pau Torres held the rival counterattacks better than Eric García and Íñigo Martínez did in the previous duel, but beyond that they liked the collective pressure, the organization of the team and the harassment exerted on one team, the Swiss, On the other hand, he made it clear that he is not going through his best moment.
The appearance of Marcos Llorente in the eleven, his legs and his lungs, also played an essential role in making the midfield more rocky, as well as the return of Morata to the position of nine. Despite not scoring, the striker emptied himself once again and facilitated the work of his teammates.
So far the good, because Spain also fell into errors that began to be recurrent in the stage of Luis Enrique. After a first half of great level, with absolute domination of the game, the team fell apart during a good stretch of the second act, at the mercy of Switzerland and risking a tie. It was not a game to suffer, and at times it was really bad.
It begins to be a symptom of this selection, which can be criticized for little in terms of results, having the fans in a scream. No matter how much the ball is tyrannized, Spain's superiority in this aspect is unquestionable, it has not just been initialed or rounded off. To aspire to the outstanding. It happens more frequently since the coach began his second stage, in September 2020. Since then he has directed 30 games, of which he has won just over half, 16. The rest are divided into 10 draws and 4 losses . Of those 16 wins, seven have been achieved by the minimum. In other words, in 21 of the 30 games the result hung by a thread until the final whistle. Spain lives on the wire, and Luis Enrique is reminded of it as soon as he has an opportunity: «I think it is a game to feel proud of. I'm happy for the personality of the players, for the attitude, for wanting to score the second goal even though it wasn't achieved."
It is beginning to cost Spain a world to carry out official matches. They have not achieved a victory by more than one goal since September last year, when they beat Kosovo in Pristina (0-2), and even then the second goal, the work of Ferran, could only be celebrated in the 88th minute. stopped suffering to achieve their goals. In the Final Four of the last Nations League they beat Italy (1-2) and lost by the same score against France in the final. Anguish was also felt in the quest for direct qualification for the World Cup, which was satisfactorily resolved with 1-0 wins over Greece and Sweden in the decisive matches. Even traveling further back, Spain's struggles to emerge victorious are recalled. In the first phase they won only one game out of three, and the qualifiers were settled one in extra time and another on penalties before falling in the semi-final, again on penalties, against Italy. In total, only one clear victory in the 90 regulation minutes that a match lasts. The start of the new edition of the Nations League has not been different, waiting to see what happens tomorrow at La Rosaleda.
The Geneva game also echoes the performance of Unai Simón, whose risks with the ball at his feet were about to play him last morning. It is not the first time, but the Athletic goalkeeper knows that he has his most vehement defender in Luis Enrique: «It doesn't make me nervous. In decision making he is an expert player and I am delighted. It is that I am the one who tells him that he has to go out playing the ball. I don't know any other way to get the ball to the strikers and I don't want to. What makes a mistake? Well, like Pepe, Lucas or Manolo... They all commit them. I understand that those who don't like this get nervous, but that's how we're always going to play."