SPAIN WITH A NEW COACH, NORWAY WITHOUT A COUNTRY
The Spanish team started the 2022 World Cup with a lot of fame, but it also flew out of the tournament mediocre, fed up with all the empty control of the ball without the slightest attempt to risk to break closer to someone else’s goal. And after losing to Morocco in a penalty shootout, Luis Enrique left the technical bridge, and his chair was taken by the not-so-famous specialist Luis de la Fuente, who worked with the Spanish teams of all times, including the Olympic (in the final of the 2021 Olympic Games, they lost to Brazil).
Naturally, the new gameplay loop brought some changes. The new coach decided not to call Jordi Alba, and entrusted a place in the base to his teammate Alex Balde, but two other important positions were orphaned through no fault of his own -Sergio Busquets ended his career in the national team, and Pedri was injured. In this way, Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad) found a place at the start, and the legendary 35-year-old Celta striker Iago Aspas turned out to be in attack under the orders of Álvaro Morata, for whom this game for Furia Roja was only the 19th in his career.
As for the Norwegian team, it appeared in Malaga without its main star Erling Haaland, who returned to the Manchester City location with a groin injury. In the center of the attack, the guests came out of Alexander Serlot, and the attention was riveted by the leader of Arsenal, Martin Odegaard.
ELM PLAYED POST
Practice has shown that Spain can change its coach, but not its style. The hosts habitually settled the ball at their feet and started rolling it into someone else’s half of the field. They didn’t push too far forward, but they also didn’t let them doubt their advantage. By the 16th minute, according to Whoscored stats, the Spaniards had the ball (watch out!) 92 per cent of the time!
Everyone knows that you can roll the ball for days, but be infinitely far from the goal, but the Norwegians themselves helped. They kept a good distance between the lines, but were too tight on their own lines and allowed the opponent to stretch their defense. Already in the 13th minute, Balde, who joined the attack from the corner of the penalty area, finished off hard in the middle and hit Dani Olmo, from whom the ball went off to the end of the area. Stole Solbakken’s initial plan could have been thrown away.
Even this moment did not force the Norwegians to change their defensive tactics. They were still located very narrowly, leaving the opponents only at the edges, but the Spanish could not properly dispose of this. What’s more, at their gates in the time remaining before the break they allowed more than they created from strangers, but Martin Odegaard’s shot from the center of the area hit the defense, and Serlot Fredrik Aursnes, who closed the serve, served to Kepa Arrizabalaga. under the crossbar.
HOW THE COUNTRY IS MISSED
The game began to change even before the break, and in the second half it only became more noticeable. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, the Norwegians had 57 percent of the ball. From Spain! In his field! It is not clear only, will it be such a tactical plan of de la Fuente or just the impotence of his wards? To be honest, I believe in the second one even more. If it weren’t for Kepa, the locals would have blushed: the goalkeeper stylishly picked up the ball from the goal line, which he bounced off Nacho, who rushed under the blow.
However, it is worth recognizing that the guests did not master for long. De la Fuente oriented relatively quickly and released in place of the lost Aspas and the inert Gavi Dani Ceballos and Mikel Oyarzabal. Both entered the game decently, especially the Real Madrid midfielder, who invented a shot for Jeremías Pino (replacing Olmo) and Merino.
The Spanish seem to have taken control of the game again, but whatever they do, they have a yard behind them. Serlot was obliged to help the team to take the tie from Málaga, but after a soft shot sighted into the goalkeeper’s line, being alone in front of the goal, he managed to finish off. It was at this moment that it became completely clear how much the guests missed Holland…
THE BEST AFTERNOON IN THE QUARRY OF JOSELO
What Serlot did not know how to do was replace him with Álvaro Morate (one of the most overrated strikers of our time has already risen to the captain’s armband) Joselu. He appeared in the 81st minute, in the 82nd minute he missed the ball after a promising cross, and in the 84th and 85th minutes he scored a double -first he put his head under Fabián Ruiz’s serve, and then he arrived in time to finish off after hitting Oyarzabal from a zero angle. This is the debut of the Espanyol striker at 32!
As a result, Spain started with a crushing victory over Norway, which neither deserved, but for Haaland’s compatriots, the most interesting is ahead. In the next round, they go to Georgia and the “red fury” to Glasgow.
European Championship. qualifying stage. Group A. 1st day
Spain – Norway – 3:0 (1:0)
Goals: Olmo, 13 – 1:0. Joselu, 84-2:0. Joselu, 85-3:0.
Spain: Arrizabalaga, Carvajal, Nacho, Laporte, Balde, Rodri, Merino (Ruiz, 81), Olmo (Pino, 67), Aspas (Ceballos, 58), Gavi (Oyarzabal, 58), Morata (Joselu, 81).
Norway: Nyland, Pedersen (Ruerson 74), Strandberg, Estigor, Meling (Bjerkan 74), Berg, Odegaard, Eurnes, Berge (Larsen 74), Eljunussi (Solbakken 74), Serloth (Brunheldsen 86).
Warnings: Odegaard, 41. Serloth, 51.
Referee: Bastien (France).