Spain won’t change tack, aim to be more clinical

Close call: Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen gathers the ball during the 0-0 draw against Spain in Sevilla. — AFP

SEVILLE: Spain showed a real lack of cutting edge in their opening 0-0 draw with Sweden but there is little chance of them veering from their usual strategy when they face Poland in their second Euro 2020 match.

Spain made a tournament record 917 passes against Sweden but failed to muster a goal from 85% possession of the ball as they struggled to find a way through their opponents’ rigid defensive lines.

But coach Luis Enrique has proudly pledged to adopt the same tactics against Poland, saying “we try to play the same way in every match” and the only change he will ask of his players is to be more clinical in front of goal.

Striker Alvaro Morata became a scapegoat for the Seville crowd when he missed a one-on-one against Sweden yet it would be no surprise to see the famously stubborn coach keep faith in the forward.

His teammates have been doing their best to keep Morata’s spirits up.

“All of us are responsible for attack and defence and he made some very good interventions in defence. I grew up with him and he’s a spectacular player, his numbers show that, ” midfielder Pablo Sarabia told reporters on Thursday.

Poland will be equally keen to improve on their showing in their first game after losing 2-1 to Slovakia to sink to the bottom of Group E although Sarabia still expects them to mimic the tactics Sweden employed so effectively.

Spain should also beware of conceding any chances to the Poles and in particular Robert Lewandowski, who is likely to be more ruthless in front of goal than Sweden’s Marcus Berg, who squandered a huge chance to score in one of few forays forward.

“We’re expecting a team that will sit way back but who have great players up front. I’m sure they’re going to demand a lot of us, ” added Sarabia.

“They might copy how Sweden played but we know what we’re good at doing and we’re going to try and get the most out of the way we play.

“It’s difficult to play against a team where everyone defends in their own half but that’s where we need to show quality, be patient and wait for gaps to appear.”

Poland will be without holding midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak after he was sent off against Slovakia while Spain are hoping to be boosted by the return of captain Sergio Busquets.

Busquets has been isolating back in Barcelona after testing positive for Covid-19 on June 6 but has been asymptomatic and is expected to return to the team’s camp in Madrid. — Reuters

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