Another friendly, another humdrum, another wave manifesting itself around the stadium.
There wasn’t much to write home about in Spain’s 1 - 0 win over Tunisia in Russia, with Julen Lopetegui just trying to figure out how to juggle some pieces before the main event starts next week. Among the main points of interest: Who gets the starting right-back slot in lieu of Carvajal, who will likely miss the first two matches? A couple ‘trials’ today — with Alvaro Odriozola starting in the first half, and Nacho coming in at half-time. They split halves.
Not that eventful today, so we’ll be quick:
- Lopetegui rolled out a 4-2-3-1 of sorts, with Busquets and Thiago holding the midfield behind Isco, Iniesta, and Silva.
- There was a slowness to the scheme. Spain clearly didn’t hit any high gears in this game like they did against (a very open) Argentina. Credit should go to Tunisia here. They were really impressive. They held their shape, clogged the middle, hounded aggressively, and even broke Spain’s lines while being dangerous on the counter. A couple quick examples:
- The coverage for Alvaro Odriozola wasn’t great (although he himself was good individually when defending). The back four was spread thin. Odriozola had a lot to do in this one, and was playing as a two-way wingback who didn’t stop running. The flank became more stable when both Nacho and Lucas Vazquez came on the right flank and the scheme shifted a bit.
- Iniesta had some really great touches and was good overall. Isco had less space and looked a bit leg-heavy. Things seemed a bit cluttered in the middle, and Thiago and Busquets gave Spain possession, but they struggled to get the ball up the field and connect the dots offensively.
- No goal from Rodrigo, but I do like his hard work even when he doesn’t score. He is no Diego Costa when it comes to physicality, but he’s actually quite strong (and quick) — probably underrated how well he can throw his body around and meet crosses.
- Aspas, as always with Spain, looks a seamless fit.
- Boos for Sergio Ramos today — presumably from angry local Salah stans
- Spain’s subs (particularly Aspas, Asensio, and Lucas) gave Spain more pace and directness. That, coupled with Tunisia tiring out from all their good defensive work, gave way to Spain taking the lead in the 85th minute:
Aspas goal v Tunisia. Busquets with a neat pass in build up. pic.twitter.com/SK5WQlcZDs— Fiaz Hamzath (@fiazhamzath) June 9, 2018
- We’ll discuss all things Spanish National Team on Monday’s Churros y Tácticas Podcast.