Changes Spain Need to Make to Be Competitive at Euro 2016

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJune 21, 2014

Changes Spain Need to Make to Be Competitive at Euro 2016

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    Spain have had a miserable tournament.
    Spain have had a miserable tournament.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Nobody would disagree that Spain's 2014 World Cup campaign was a disaster, a disgrace and lamentable.

    But instead of crying over spilled milk, there is plenty of work to be done.

    And if it's carried out correctly, there's no reason why La Roja can't bounce back at the 2016 European Championships. 

    These are the keys to a successful Spanish recovery. 

Brief Del Bosque or Change Him

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    Del Bosque needs to have a set target.
    Del Bosque needs to have a set target.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    There has been plenty of talk about Vicente del Bosque's future in the Spanish press over the past few days.

    Del Bosque himself commented and said that he was willing to leave if needs be.

    He told a press conference, per the Guardian:

    Nothing has been decided about the future. No decision has been made [but] it will be made for the good of the team and the federation. All I want is for Spanish football to continue working well. If I am an obstacle, I will go. I want to be comfortable and I want [the federation] to be comfortable.

    If he stays, he needs to have a long sit down with the powers that be and talk about how he plans to bring the team back from this low point.

    The changes don't need to be drastic, just effective.

Out with the Old and in with the New

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    Casillas had a horrific World Cup.
    Casillas had a horrific World Cup.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Some of the hardest moves are being made by the pawns themselves.

    Carles Puyol has retired, Xavi is whisking himself away to Qatar, per Sport, and David Villa is going to New York, via Australia.

    These players are, essentially, ruling themselves out of contention for future Spain squads.

    It's a shame that they had to go in this fashion, on the back of a disgraceful tournament showing, rather than gently stepping down at an opportune moment.

    Del Bosque needs to finish the refresh himself by not selecting Real Madrid pair Iker Casillas and Xabi Alonso.

    The former had a horrific tournament and was at fault for several goals.

    Alonso, meanwhile, was also extremely poor. There are also rumours of a rift between him and the others, per Sport, which Santi Cazorla denied.

    David De Gea is ready to take over in goal from Casillas.

    And if Spain bring in young talent like Ander Iturraspe, Thiago Alcantara (injured for this World Cup) and Isco, the future is still bright.

    One player who should stay is Andres Iniesta, who is quite possibly the only La Roja star to have featured so far who will leave the World Cup with his pride intact.

    He won't be proud though, because he's not selfish and Spain's collapse will have wounded him.

Fine-Tune the Style of Play

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    Iniesta (right) and his brand of football are not dead.
    Iniesta (right) and his brand of football are not dead.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Tiki-taka is not dead, it just needs a shot in the arm.

    Football has changed in the last few years and technically brilliant teams like Spain need to pay more heed to physicality and its uses.

    Del Bosque bringing in Diego Costa was a nod in the right direction, but it was a move that proved too little, too late. Much too late.

    Costa barely had any game time with his new national side and doesn't fit the entirely possession-based style Spain play in.

    Costa's finishing is not top-notch either; he's a man who takes one chance in a handful, not someone you rely on to polish off a snatched semi-opportunity.

    That would have been fine if Spain had created many chances, but they looked altogether bereft of inspiration.

Build a Team Toward the Best Striker

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    Diego Costa could yet work for Spain.
    Diego Costa could yet work for Spain.Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

    Any team that picks goal-shy forwards Fernando Torres and David Villa because Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente don't fit the system obviously isn't using the right system.

    Diego Costa, presuming he continues to impress, should be the man Spain aim to feed at the European Championships in 2016.

    But if someone else is playing well then they should be considered too. Perhaps it will be Real Madrid youngster Jese.

    Either way, the manager at Euro 2016 shouldn't force the team to play his way if the key man don't fit into the system.

    Koke can provide energy in midfield, and if Spain wanted to, they could transform into an excellent counter-attacking side.

    Whether that's the best way to play in two years time is unknown, but the manager needs to keep his finger on the pulse.