Spain makes cash

A goal by Oyarzabal when taking advantage of a Swiss defense error gives victory to La Roja, which remains the group leader. Ansu did not shine and Adama entered the second half.


The night left us two news. One, that Ansu Fati is capable of going unnoticed. The other, that the ball is still the owner and lord of this sport called soccer. No matter how many sleepless hours the coaches spend to prepare a game, he writes and erases on the board, that an action leaves all that plan on wet paper. A bad pass from the goalkeeper, a slip and the opponent's goal. It was signed by Mikel Oyarzabal and it meant the victory that allows Spain to remain group leader after three Nations League matches. A gray night, a brilliant result.

Ansu Fati was back, which is synonymous with a holiday, a noise in the stands even if the stands are empty. The azulgrana returned to ownership in an unprecedented attack with Oyarzabal and Ferran Torres as teammates. And the invention had no other reason for being than to play games with the adversary. The system was maintained, the 4-3-3, that seems inalienable, but with nine changes with respect to the friendly on Wednesday in Lisbon it was difficult to know where the shots would go. With the ball rolling, it was found that Oyarzabal was nine, while Ferran and Ansu played the role of wingers. That way of moving the board had to confuse Switzerland, which had initially opted for the line of five in defense. Xhaka was the team's offensive baton, while Shaquiri, inactive with the Swiss national team since June 2019, had to settle for watching the game start from the bench.

Switzerland came to Madrid as an uncomfortable rival, used to being present at the big events, although the history books were revealing: twenty confrontations between both teams with a balance of 15 Spanish victories, four draws and a single defeat, you know, the of our debut in the 2010 World Cup. That goal by Gedson Fernandes, the blood on Piqué's eyebrow, the disappointment at the first exchange ...

But Switzerland discovered that the false nine bait was just that, just bait, and swam to other waters. The start did not convince Luis Enrique, who scoffed from the band. And in these circumstances, you hear everything. "Up, go on, squeeze!", Thundered in Valdebebas. He asked for more pressure from his forwards to stifle the Swiss ball output, where Schär, a former Deportivo player, acted as a windshield wiper. He opened to one side and the other, and if he did not, if he saw danger, he would give back to Sommer. What Vladimir Petkovic had ordered is that no ball be raffled. The funny thing is that the same thing happened the other way around, because it was Seferovic and Mehmedi who bothered La Roja when it came to creating play.

It was difficult to generate scoring chances for both teams and the first was for Switzerland, with a good run down the right and a shot from Benito who cleared De Gea for a corner in one of those saves that fuel the goalkeepers' confidence. Either there were more than eleven Swiss on the pitch or they seemed so, as they denied any space to the Spanish National Team, where Olmo and Merino acted as interiors escorting Busquets, which he repeated after his tenure in Lisbon (everything points to Rodri starting the Tuesday against Ukraine). But in those it happened what usually happens in football, that one detail rearranges everything. Sommer missed a punt that was compounded by Xhaka's slip. Outcome? Lethal, because the error took place inside the area and the ball was left in the left of Oyarzabal, who scored 1-0. Too bad I didn't see Petkovic's face then, because it must have been a poem.

What until then worked for the Swiss coach stopped working after that goal. The pressure lost integers and Spain gained confidence. On the edge of the break came a new opportunity after a Navas cross headed by Ferran. Sommer walked this time fine and avoided the goal. The truth is that this shot was not accidental, because in the middle of the first half Ferran had emerged as the nine for La Roja, with Oyarzabal occupying the right wing. As the location of his pieces changed and as they paid off, Luis Enrique gained peace of mind in the band. He kept screaming, but his face gave him away, he liked what he was seeing more. And so the dressing room went at halftime. The scoreboard was smiling and Spain had found itself with the goal after Wednesday's blank match in Portugal, which had broken a streak of 42 straight games by seeing the door. Something that had not happened since the KO against Italy (2-0) in the round of 16 of Euro 2016.

But little did Luis Enrique expect to move his bench after the restart. In 57 'Canales and Adama entered through Olmo and Ansu. And the one from Wolverhampton took a blink of an eye to display his cards with a zigzag in which he got rid of rivals to open the band and provide a new chance of danger. However, as the minutes passed, the gas evaporated. Not even the entry of Gerard Moreno by Oyarzabal served to win over the top. The match was locked into a neither with you nor without you in which both teams were able to steal the ball but unable to generate chances. On Tuesday, in Kiev, more. Hopefully better.

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