Spain have become a nation of midfielders

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Football News

The Spanish midfield is so overflowing with quality that players from the best domestic sides in the world can't make the cut.

Their abundance of riches saw the likes of Isco (Real Madrid) Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) and Juan Mata (Manchester United) dropped from the final 23.

Despite the fact Spain have such strength in depth that their second 11 could make the tournament on its own, the midfield is where the scrap for places is the strongest.


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So what is Spain doing right, or wrong, to produce so many midfielders? Why are Spanish children choosing that position? Is it something actively encouraged by the nation of such sporting prowess?

Or is it because the strikers have a harder time fitting into the starting 11? Spain manager Vicente del Bosque is notorious for leaving strikers behind because they don't fit the system - see the likes of Fernando Torres and Diego Costa - and his eight-year reign has seen the bounty of midfielders edge out the strikers.

Whether their loaded midfield is by fortune or design, the fact remains that their strike force was impotent against an organised Czech Republic defence on Monday - even more telling when a defender scores the only goal of the game.

So where were the strikers? Artiz Aduriz, Álvaro Morata and Manuel Agudo Duran (a.k.a. Nolito) made their tournament debuts to little overall effect, with Nolito complaining that it isn't easy to play against a team that builds a wall.

But surely that's your job? Defenders are doing theirs, where has this culture of blaming them for doing their job come from? If they build a wall, it is the job of forward players to find a way around them, through them, or over them.

No, it isn't easy, but this is the European Championships. It's not a walk in the park.

The midfield did a wonderful job of keeping the ball, reflected by their 70% possession stats, but you don't get three points by dominating the game.

So has this nation of midfielders had its day? Is it time Del Bosque concentrated on his strike force? Whatever your verdict on the crisis of abundance of the Spanish midfield, we can all agree they should easily be beating a side who barely had possession over 90 minutes.

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Spain Football
Euro 2016
Gerard Pique
Fernando Torres
Alvaro Morata
Francesc Fabregas

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