Colombia reveals Spain’s plan b | Soccer | Sports


Spain’s penultimate friendly before the list to play the Euro Cup in Germany was much less friendly for Colombia, which stripped Luis de la Fuente’s refreshment unit and caused him his second defeat since occupying the national team bench (0- 1), after stringing together eight consecutive victories. Colombia played first with patience and then driven by the brilliance of James Rodríguez, who still has a few nights of sparkle left in his boots, even if it is only 45 minutes. His sharp vision contrasted with Spain’s heaviness, with some poorly oiled pieces that had never had to work together.

De la Fuente had already warned that he would distribute minutes. The season enters its hot moment, and the clubs anxiously say goodbye to the footballers who travel with their national teams. With another friendly on Tuesday against Brazil at the Bernabéu (9:30 p.m., La1), the coach started with a few less common players, such as Vivian, one of the three who debuted with the senior team in London. Sarabia, who had not appeared since the elimination against Morocco in Qatar, came back to play when he was about to avoid extra time with a volley that hit the post. The Madrid native from Wolverhampton formed a large attack with Gerard Moreno, Oyarzabal and Joselu up front, supported by a double pivot with Mikel Merino and Martín Zubimendi.

Real’s pair of midfielders kidnapped the ball, and Spain barely lost sight of it. And when that happened, they took it back very high. De la Fuente’s selection does not let up on that. Does not release any prey. And Colombia, suffocated, could not find a way to stretch and reach Luis Díaz on the left or Jhon Arias on the right. The Red’s push, however, got stuck in the defensive funnel set up by Néstor Lorenzo. The air did not flow through the central areas.

Joselu barely managed to ventilate a little, getting down to unload on his back. There was little to do inside. Pedro Porro, who returned to the national team after the unfortunate night of defeat in Glasgow, De la Fuente’s only one until London, expanded the field on the right with Sarabia. But the light came mainly from the other side, where Grimaldo, one of the weapons of Xabi Alonso’s brilliant Bayer Leverkusen, produced the most dangerous thing: a couple of crosses into the area and the first shot of the game.

Colombia was barely resistant and had two desperate runs from Luis Díaz, but it threatened Spain with a foul on the scoreboard that ended in the hands of David Raya, who at half-time gave Remiro, another debutant, his place in the goal. As was later the teenager Cubarsí, the youngest defender in history to play for the national team. Few signs more than that choreography of Lorenzo’s team, a block that arrived with a streak of 19 consecutive games without losing, since February 2022.

He held on, but he didn’t relax until the second half, when Ríos, more daring, and James Rodríguez, who retained hierarchy and imagination, entered, and as soon as he entered he forced Remiro to stretch to clear a good long-range shot. The ex-Madridista made the wind turn. There was the Colombia that defeated Brazil in November. Spain lost control and retreated. When Colombia recovered, it was different. There was James, clairvoyant and determined, with the air of a decade ago. With him, Luis Díaz was also another, more similar to Liverpool’s lethal creature. The former Madrid player threw him into the right space; not to the overcrowded jungle where he received in the first half. And in one of those he got rid of Vivian with two dribbles, put a cross to the far post, and there, in a jump, Daniel Muñoz, Crystal Palace’s right back, volleyed into the net.

It was the signal for De la Fuente to intervene. He introduced Baena, Morata and Nico Williams. And shortly after, to Lamine Yamal. He already had his two most disconcerting agitators on the sidelines. But it wasn’t enough. Colombia held on, very supportive, well organized, and without stopping threatening James. This Spain of opportunities is not that round and suffocating team from the last break, the version of those expected to play against Brazil. And so, in evidence, De la Fuente suffered his second defeat in London.

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