FIFA World Cup

Key Tactical Decisions for Spain in World Cup Clash with Australia

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2014

Key Tactical Decisions for Spain in World Cup Clash with Australia

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    What will del Bosque do now?
    What will del Bosque do now?Associated Press

    Obviously there's nothing riding on this match given that both Spain and Australia are out of the World Cup.

    In fact, most attention will be turned to the other clash in the group, the Netherlands against Chile, because that will decide which team finishes top and who is second.

    But come the 2016 European Championship in France, we may be looking back at this game as the start of Spain's new era.

    Here are some of the moves that coach Vicente del Bosque may make.

Time for a New Custodian

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    Casillas should be dropped.
    Casillas should be dropped.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Pepe Reina could be selected in goal instead of Iker Casillas.

    There's only a slim chance that Reina will be in the Euro 2016 squad, let alone between the sticks, but it's the symbolism of removing Iker Casillas that could be important.

    The legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper has spent most of the season on the bench, only featuring in the Cup competitions for his club.

    At the World Cup he has had a horrendous time, responsible for several of the seven goals Spain have conceeded.

    David de Gea is the natural successor to Casillas but is currently injured.

    Removing Casillas now though would likely flag the end of his international career.

    It is a sad ending for a good goalkeeper, but as the saying goes, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Showing the Stars Who's Boss

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    Sergio Ramos (left) should sit this one out.
    Sergio Ramos (left) should sit this one out.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    Vicente del Bosque would do well to drop Sergio Ramos for the final group clash with Australia, bringing in reserve Raul Albiol.

    Ramos has a superb attitude and loves his country. He is a natural leader in the side.

    But his performances have not been up to scratch.

    Gerard Pique is likely to miss the game with an injury, per David Kent for the Daily Mail, and Ramos will be expecting to start.

    Dropping him would provide a shock to the system and could inspire greater concentration and effort in the future.

    Ramos will resent being made to watch his country from the substitutes bench and could react strongly.

A New-Look Midfield

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    It's time for Koke.
    It's time for Koke.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Atletico Madrid star Koke deserves more for his fantastic season than a substitute appearance against Chile.

    He should have been in the team from the start and would have offered Spain more of the physicality and energy they needed to match the vibrant Dutch during La Roja's 5-1 mauling.

    Koke should have been picked instead of Xabi Alonso in the second match and only entered the fray in the second half.

    Sergio Busquets should be retained and Koke added into the mix, along with Andres Iniesta as the most attacking player of a three-man midfield.

    The Barcelona man has not let himself down this tournament, unlike most of his compatriots.

    Iniesta has a magnificent ability to glide past opponents and frequently looked the most potent player against Chile.

Stick with Your Gun

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    Diego Costa should be retained.
    Diego Costa should be retained.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Vicente del Bosque could bring back Cesc Fabregas in place of Diego Costa, who has had a poor World Cup.

    That is despite the former's bad attitude in training, which saw del Bosque send him out of the session, per the Daily Mail.

    However, del Bosque clearly saw something in Costa's physicality and his fine performances for Atletico Madrid.

    To drop him after just two competitive games for La Roja would be a poor decision.

    Combining him with Koke should be effective, as the pair has a strong relationship at club level.

    Costa needs time to get used to playing in Spain's style.

    While he will never be the perfect fit for the current possession-based football, he can change and so can Spain.

    It would be foolish not to properly utilise the only world-class striker eligible to play for the country.

    Maybe he can net his first Spain goal against Australia, who have a weak defence.

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