Football

Spain must make changes to save World Cup hopes

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Naysayers of the famous tiki-taka style will be loudly proclaiming that Spain's run as unchallenged champions of world football is over, after they were comprehensively beaten 5-1 by the Netherlands.

The defeat was Spain's most humbling in recent memory, and any perceived conceptions of La Roja easing their way through Group B have been well and truly dashed. However, it is important during moments like this to view the situation with clarity, rather than feed the sweeping, excessive statements that will undoubtedly be made.

The most important situation for Vincente del Bosque to address is Spain's striker. Diego Costa, deployed as a traditional number 9, failed to impact upon the game, although he was able to win the penalty that led to the opening goal. In order for Costa to be effective in the role, Spain require pace in the final third, so that the third man runners can take advantage of the space opened up by the Atlético forward.

If Del Bosque is intent on playing Silva, Xavi and Iniesta in an attacking trio, he would be better served using Cesc Fabregas as a false-nine. Diego Costa would benefit from Pedro starting, and against Chile's notoriously open back three, the pair could cause damage.

Spain's transition from attack to defence was awful. The simple reason for this is age. Xabi Alonso and Xavi are no longer able to affect the tempo of the match and offer defensive stability.

Busquets is a fantastic shielder of the back four, but without energy besides him, he can be made to look lethargic. A perfect companion for Busquets in the midfield would be Atlético captain Gabi, but as he has been overlooked, Koke should be introduced against Chile, at the expense of either Xavi or Xabi Alonso. This would allow whoever is picked to dictate the tempo, whilst Koke and Busquets would provide a quicker transition phase from attack to defense.

Spain need to sort out their high line. For the Dutch first goal, a lack of pressure on Daley Blind, combined with Spain's kamikaze high line, allowed Robin van Persie the space to head over a stranded Casillas. Again this problem lies in the fact that Spain's ageing midfield no longer pressure the opposition midfield to the same intensity. If Del Bosque insists on keeping Pique and Ramos high up the pitch, Koke is essential.

Finally, the time has come to hand over the goalkeeping reigns to David de Gea. This is an unashamed reactionary statement, but Casillas is out of sorts, as he showed both in the Champions League and against Holland, and Spain have nothing to lose handing the gloves to De Gea, who will be Spain's goalkeeper for the next ten years.    

Let's keep this match in perspective. Spain have a squad full of world class talent, and that hasn't changed. This result is not going to ruin them overnight, but it does give del Bosque several important decisions to make. The severity of the defeat has amplified the gravity of the situation, but Spain need to adapt, and trust the likes of Koke to lead them out of trouble. The focus must now be on regaining their balance, getting out of the group, and ensuring this is viewed as an awkward blip, rather than the shuddering end to a wonderful cycle.  

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Topics:
World Cup
Spain Football
La Liga
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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