Spain lost 2-1 in Slovakia on Thursday night, slipping to their first qualification defeat in eight years (and 36 matches) and losing for the fourth time in their last six games.
The Spanish press are bemoaning the fact that Spain’s time in the spotlight seems to be coming to an end – something emphasised by their disastrous World Cup – but just what can be done to put things right?
Here are five suggestions:
Drop Iker Casillas
A miserable few months for Iker Casillas continued with his dreadful error to allow Juraj Kucka’s free-kick to fly in in Zilina and give Slovakia the lead, and after the Real Madrid goalkeeper’s World Cup hangover continued, he is now facing serious questions.
It is never nice to end the international career of an idol, but surely this is the right time to do it?
Replace Him With David De Gea
The perfect replacement for Casillas is staring Vincente Del Bosque in the face, too, as Manchester United’s David De Gea waits to inherit a No. 1 jersey that surely seems destined to be his.
The former Atletico Madrid stopper demonstrated his fine form in United’s win over Everton last week, and having overcome some early wobbles in English football he now appears to be mentally strong enough to become his nation’s top stopper.
Trust The Youngsters
More so than De Gea, though, there are other younger players who are on the fringes of the Spanish team’s plans who now deserve a crack at regular starting places.
Valencia’s in-form Paco Alcacer, who came on as a substitute and scored in Slovakia, is one such player, but with Spain’s way of playing football so engrained in the country given their successes of the recent past, the more established players are bound to continue to be preferred. It might be time for that to change.
Play to Diego Costa’s Strengths
Spain infamously won Euro 2012 without playing a recognised forward, as the likes of Cesc Fabregas and David Silva loitered in the more attacking positions to great effect.
Going from that setup to playing with the brutish figure of Diego Costa was always going to take time, but whilst the Spanish press have rounded on the centre-forward – with some headlines cruelly claiming that they are still playing without a striker – it is surely going to take a different approach for the Spanish to succeed with him in the team. They don’t need to become Chelsea, but a little of their directness might not go amiss.
Give Vicente Del Bosque Some Help
So few managerial reigns have the opportunity to end on a high, and so you begin to wonder whether Del Bosque should have called it quits after Euro 2012 in order to bow out with an exemplary legacy.
That is easier said than done, of course, but perhaps the 63-year-old could do with a hand from one of Spain’s younger managers with a view to bringing on through to succeed him?
Nuno is currently performing miracles at Valencia, whilst Quique Sanchez Flores is out of work. Would their input help?
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