Spain coach Luis Enrique settled one of the biggest dilemmas he faced during his reign: how to find a replacement for Gerard Pique.
Former Barcelona coach Pau Torres called Villarreal to next door Sergio Ramos in the center of the defense during the match in which the Spanish Matador defeated Switzerland 1-0 in the European Nations League on Saturday evening, and this step has already paid off.
Torres played with great comfort next to Ramos, the star of Real Madrid’s defense, and succeeded in imposing control of the ball when all eyes were directed towards him at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.
Barcelona defender Pique retired from international football in August 2018 at the age of thirty-one, having participated in 102 matches with the Spanish national team over a period of nearly ten years.
Pique’s decision, the winner of the 2010 World Cup title with Matador and the 2012 European Nations Cup, to retire from international football left a gap next to Ramos, as many players were given the opportunity to compensate for Pique’s retirement, led by Diego Llorente, Eric Garcia, Nacho, Raul Albiol, Enigo Martinez and Mario Hermoso, where these were tried. Through the qualifiers for Euro 2020 and the European Nations League, and also during friendly matches, Torres surpassed them all and proved his worth by being with the team.
Roberto Moreno, who took over as coach of the Spain national team after Enrique left office after the death of his son in 2019 due to cancer, was the first to summon Torres to the ranks of the Matador.
After Enrique returned to coach the Spain national team, he decided to keep Torres with the team and may finally find someone to help Ramos in the defense line during the European Nations Cup, which was postponed for next year due to the Corona pandemic.
“It’s one of the places I rely the most on,” Enrique said. “It’s not just about defending well, I ask them to do a lot of things.”
Torres showed comfort in the defense and was starting the attacks during the difficult victory over Switzerland, characteristics that Pique had before him.
The presence of central defenders like Ramos and Torres enabled the Spanish national team to play at a higher rhythm on the field because they do not suffer from confusion when they are pressured when they are in possession of the ball.
Luis Enrique said, “I am really proud of the team in the final parts of the match because we did not back down, which means that they (Switzerland) did not get a single chance.”
Torres intends to continue working hard to preserve his chance with a list of candidates to participate in the Matador defense line.
“I try to take advantage of the opportunities that the coach gives me. A few days ago, Diego Llorente and Eric Garcia made a great level against Portugal, and we should be in the best possible way when the opportunity for us to participate,” Torres said.
“Even if you are a little exhausted, you should always feel excited to be with the national team, it is an added incentive, which makes everything an underestimate.”
The next challenge for Enrique begins mid-week during the confrontation in Ukraine in the European Nations League, where he will have to reach the greatest level of stability in forming the elements of the defense line.
The only goal for Spain came after Switzerland wasted the ball in the penalty area, to take advantage of Mikel Oyarzabal and score the decisive goal, but in general the match was disappointing, indicating the need to work more at the offensive line after the team succeeded in reaching a convincing rate Of solidity on the line of defense.
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