10/10/2021 at 11:12 PM CEST
A big team had the world champion on the ropes. A big team fell with honor in the final of the Nations League, in a match absolutely conditioned by a referee decision difficult to explain and even more difficult to understand. A large team, made up of a handful of beardless enthusiasts capable of looking anyone in the face and brimming with talent, remained on the verge of an international title despite having a worthy match at the San Siro.
Spain lost the Nations final, but offered a soccer lesson. In front, Deschamps’s France, a team full of talent but determined to cling to the most rickety version of football, that of the low block and the physical: it is almost a sin that a group of players as overwhelming as the one Deschamps manages plays games as poor as the one they perpetrated in Milan last night.
France was saved by the appearance of two monsters: first Benzema and later Mbappé, in a very controversial play that the referee and the VAR validated, despite the fact that the French seemed to be offside. The Spanish players did not understand the explanations given by the English referee.
A hopeful balance
The balance of Spain in the final four of the Nations League is more than positive: Luis Enrique’s team competed in style in both games. He was better than the European champion in the semi-final and he was better than the world champion in the final. He lacked a point of attacking mischief in the decisive match and a pinch of arbitration luck, but Spain leaves the tournament converted into a team of the future, confirming what was pointed out in the Eurocup, with a roster of players who ensure years and years of stability in the team.
An author team
Absent Pedri, Ansu, Marcos Llorente, Morata or Thiago, Spain showed that it can compete with anyone and anyone. In each game new talents emerge (Gavi, Yeremy Pino) and the team grows with each call, at the pace set by Luis Enrique.
Oblivious to criticism, far beyond the lack of respect that some dedicate to him, the coach has built a team to be proud of. In their own way.