Spain are undoubtedly one of the most feared teams in world football. Reigning European champions after victories at Euro 2008 and 2012, and still with a host of massive names in their squad. But it looks like things could be different for them in France this summer, and they may have to rely heavily on Juventus striker Alvaro Morata.
In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Spain went out at the group stages after defeats to the Netherlands and Chile. Despite comfortably qualifying for Euro 2016 however, their problems don’t seem to have passed just yet.
On Tuesday, a strong looking Spain side were embarrassingly defeated by the team ranked 137th in the world, Georgia. The match went to show the problems that the Spaniards would face at the tournament in Brazil - the squad lacks goals.
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Vicente Del Bosque named just two conventional centre-forwards in his squad, Aritz Aduriz and Alvaro Morata. He chose to leave out both Fernando Torres and Diego Costa, instead favouring more attacking midfielders in Nolito and Lucas Vazquez.
Given that Aduriz has won just six caps at the age of 35, and only three of them starts, Morata will be key for Spain. He will most likely be the spearhead of their attack given he has proven himself as a top striker, even if he has scored just the three international goals.
Morata was absent for the match in Georgia, where the Spanish never looked like scoring. The bluntness they showed in front of goal, hitting the target just three times from their 17 attempts, almost proved how much they need a consistent goalscorer.
The 23-year-old didn’t have the best of seasons at Juventus, scoring just 12 goals all season, but the fact he has still been linked with teams of the calibre of Real Madrid and Arsenal shows that he is still considered a top striker.
Even though they haven’t always started with a traditional number nine in recent years, Spain’s success in tournaments since the 2008 European Championships has come on the back of excellent performances from their strikers, mainly Fernando Torres and David Villa.
There is no doubt that Spain have quality in their squad, especially in midfield with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas. But the key will be Morata, because they will certainly be found short in attack if he struggles for form.