Despite being victorious in their Euro 2008 campaign thus far, the Spaniards have yet to be a convincing side. An emphatic triumph against a weak Russian squad in the opening game of Group D delivered a superfluous image of the Spanish team.
This notion carried on to the second game of the group against Sweden.
An entertaining first half from both sides produced two goals resulting in a 1-1 tie. On the other side, the second half could not be explained any other way than: Truly tactical from the Vikings.
The first half star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was substituted for the young Rosenburg due to a swollen knee injury suffered before the tournament even began. This move accompanied a total defensive mentality, causing the Vikings to pull six players back to defend the two lethal strikers in David Villa and Fernando Torres.
Yet again, the Spaniards looked like they were, according to Tommy Smyth, "Going around a carousel," circling the ball round and round the midfield area with no particular goal.
Haphazardly launching one attack after another seemed to weaken the Spanish and make the Swedish look like the superior side, despite producing only one chance during the whole second half.
As a result, this illuminated a vital pivotal point regarding Spain being incapable of adjusting to opposing tactical alterations. Luis Aragones, the Spain head coach, attempted to respond to this by substituting the midfield conductor Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta for Cesc Febregas and Santo Cazorla which proved to be an error.
True, Xavi did not perform on the expected level against Sweden, but he's the conductor, the orchestrator that the Spanish fuel on. At all times, a sub will not be as positive as possible, regardless of their respected names (hint: Fabregas).
Furthermore, the Spanish defense also looked "soft" as illustrated against the Swedes. Sergio Ramos appears inept defensively, which was recorded as Ibrahimovic scored the equalizer for Sweden.
Ibrahimovic received the ball from a well delivered cross and Ramos just pathetically fell to the ground as Zlatan twisted his body and placed it in the left hand corner of Iker Casillas' goal.
In addition, every set piece the Swedes exceptionally performed, the Spanish defenders had trouble clearing. At one moment during the second half, most Spain supporters were forced on the edge of their seats as Lujenburg played a beautiful cross inside the box which defender Petter Hansson touched to Henrick Larrson who failed to tip it in.
After qualifying for the next stage of Euro 2008, the Spanish have quite a bit of work ahead of them. If they wish to advance, they will have to be obligated to respond to tactical changes by opposing teams and strengthen their interior and aerial defense.
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