mardi 21 juin 2016

Spain XI throughout history (in great tournaments)

A selection of the Spanish lineups through different eras, in the main international tournaments which are the World Cup and the European Nations Cup or European Championship.

Spain at World Cup 1934, quarter-finalist, beaten by the eventual champion Italy in a replay :

Spain 1934
3 matches and 3 different lineups. Here's a condensate. 17 players have been used.

Spain, fourth at the World Cup 1950 :

Spain 1950

Spain, European Nations Cup Winner 1964 (held in Spain since the semi-finals) :

Spain 1964
The champion in title USSR had withdrew in the quarter-finals in front of Spain, for political reasons.

Spain, Runner-up of the Euro 1984 held in France :
1) typical lineup.
2) lineup as in the Final.

Spain 1984
The typical line-up during the tournament, with Maceda as the libero. But deprived of the latter, of Gordillo, but also of Goikoetchea since the start of the knockout phase, and with the will of blocking the French midfield (they played defensive during the whole tournament, so was La Furia Roja at this time), they lined as follow in the Final :
Spain 1984

With Gallego as the libero and the duo Camacho-Señor at the marking of the duo Platini-Giresse. Julio Alberto, even though not much in this match was almost like a left midfielder, a very offensive left back anyway. With Giresse or Battiston in his zone he had still more freedom to go forward than Urquiaga, the right back, who on his side of the pitch, had to deal with a real winger-striker in Bellone during this Final.
Sarabia (striker) entered at the 75th minute for Julio Alberto and Roberto (offensive midfielder, very young at this time) at the 85th for Salva (Salvador García), the stopper in this Final.

This team had qualified in a quite astonishing maneer, to the detriment of Holland, another team in lack of results since some times : Spain qualified from the group 7 of the qualifying stage. The final standings : Spain 1st with 13 points, 6 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 24 goals for, 8 goals against, +16. 2nd of the group, The Netherlands with 13 points, 6 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss 22 goals for, 6 goals against. Spain qualified as the best attack. They met Malta (home) for their last game and won it by 12 goals to 1, four days after The Dutch team played its last game against... Malta, but for a 5-0 win, only. Spain needed to win with a +11 goal difference and made it. In their direct confrontations, Spain  had first beaten its direct rival by 1-0 before to be beaten by 2 goals to 1 in Holland.

Spain, quarter-finalist at the 1986 Mexican World Cup : 

1) as they lined in the quarter-finals.
2) typical lineup before the quarter-finals.

Spain 1986
As they played against Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Chendo played here his single match, that was instead of Goikoetxea. La Selección played also here in a new system for them (in this competition until that match) with this 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 (make your choice! Of course I have not make one myself so the presence of the laterals in an intermediate zone) instead of their usual flat 4-4-2 (formation preferred in the group stage) wich was like follows :
Spain 1986 (4-4-2 before the Q-f's)

First thing, Tomas and Reñones, it is the same player : Tomas Reñones (of Atl. Madrid). Then we can see that in this 4-4-2, Camacho was the left back. Also that Michel was the right attacking midfielder but him and Victor often switched positions (Victor was more defensive however), before the Madridista found a central place in the 5-3-2. Out of his ability to cross the ball he had also a powerful shoot, and could conduct well the plays from the centre too. Back to this 4-4-2 pre-Belgium, we can find Francisco in it, the playmaker of Sevilla who mostly played at the groups stage, and Julio Alberto who played on the left flank - Caldéré taking the centre in that case even if here again, like Michel and Victor, Julio Alberto and Caldéré could switch positions into that flat 4-4-2). J.Alberto played here in the position known to be held by Gordillo since years but who was here unfit and only appeared on the pitch once, against Northern Ireland. Before this tournament, J.Alberto was more used on the right flank.
A last point, Butragueño and Salinas swapped sides a lot at the front of the attack. It is almost impossible to choose one side by default for each of them even if we can tend to think that the player of Real was more left side of the attack and the player of Bilbao (then Barcelona) more right side. Also, Butragueño is supposed to be and certainly is more the forward who turns around the other, but that could be otherwise as well. Quite often. And then, Butragueño has the best stats. But we know into wich game he made it. So it was Denmark. Like the Danish Dynamite, La Furia Roja was finally disappointing. There was big expectations on them as for the previous World Cups and if the result was not as catastrophic as in 1982, in their own country, that was still far of  the image that this team still projected. Into the imaginations more than anything else maybe.

A little up too for the Spanish team which was quarter-finalist at the U.S World Cup (beaten by latin cousins Italy) :
Typical team/ Synthesis team :

Spain 1994
As usual Spain evolved from a 4-4-2 to a 5-3-2 according to the difficulty that represented the opponent. If they have played together in the first match of La Seleccion in the tournament against South Korea, Sergi became preferred to Guerrero, the hero of the qualifications, to animate this left side, in quite a different style as Guerrero (unsatisfying since the beginning of the tournament) was an offensive midfielder or even striker (a 10...) and Sergi a left back or left midfielder, depends on how we see things, but for sure more of a counter-attacker.
There has been a constant turnover in attack and Caminero was preferred to Salinas for the quarter-finals against Italy. Salinas, the only real striker of the team, made his entry at the hour of play, instead of Caminero. There was no real centre-forward in that team already, but one or two "false-9" most of the time. Nothing new in 2012 really. Goikotchea was some sort of a winger so an an attacker too (with power but also some technique) and Hierro (not a starter in the quarter-final) and Bakero were potentially the gunners of the team from midfield.
As for Guardiola, who was in the squad, he only appeared twice in the group stage matches.

Efficient and seducing in the qualifications, the team of Javier Clemente (31 matches without losing before the competition, record stopped at 35 during this World Cup) was more of a block composed of many defenders, some midfielders, and almost no striker (even if Salinas was one and that Caminero and most of all Luis Enrique satisfied in this position) during the Finals.

After the disappointments of the English Euro (beaten by England in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals, 1996) and most of all of the French World Cup (exit since the group stage, 1998), as the team had a high potential (with always brilliant runs in the qualifications) Spain could have some hopes in 2002 for the Final World tournament held in Asia, in Japan and South Korea with a team which could count on an efficient duo of attackers in Raul and Morientes.

As for many teams that was quite hard for them though. And dreadful in the quarter-finals where their run stopped, against host team South Korea. Like Hierro in 1994, it was this time Mendieta who was missing at the start of this quarter-final. Hierro was here this time.

Is this Spanish team worth to be presented? Certainly yes. But it won't be. The lineup was not very stable once again anyway and it would be difficult to propose a typical 11 and even less a very readable draw (it has really to be match by match here). It remains that some names of players have been cited.

Now a more stable Spanish team, with a clear project of play, the generation that won :

Spain, European Champion 2008 :

SPAIN 2008
As they lined in the Final. Iniesta and Silva could of course make it a sort of 4-3-3, but the formation consisted before all of a compact block at midfield, which really worked as a unit, both on an offensive point of view or at the defensive level, at the recuperation : by their collective moves, with in addition Senna as the real defensive midfielder (with a very good quality of pass at the same time) into that unit, or placed between the defense and the midfield.

David Villa (striker) missed the Final due to injury. Before the match for the title (against Germany), him and Torres constitued the duo of attack. Villa has been replaced for the occasion by the usual substitute midfielder (and often decisive) Fabregas. The type of formation used by Spain before the Final was no more no less than a 4-4-2. But souple enough to propose different things from this base.

Spain, World Champion 2010 :

SPAIN 2010
Spain, European Champion 2012 :

SPAIN 2012
Still a very compact team (like in 2008) even if Iniesta and Silva were maybe a bit more upfront this time (most of all Silva). They were still very close to their midfield, just like Fabregas who was not a true centre-forward but a false one.

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