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NFT: Go Terps

Big Rick in FL : 6/17/2017 4:57 pm
I know you like the Spain NT, but do you like the U21 team. Was curious if you saw the game and your opinion on it? I know Macedonia aren't a good team, but they were a real pleasure to watch today. With some of these guys included plus the regular NT they should have a really good shot at the next World Cup. The U21 team might be able to beat a good amount of senior national teams. Bellerin, Gaya, Vallejo, Saul, Ceballos, Llorente, Suarez, Inaki, Sandro Mayoral, Deulofeu & the crown jewel Marco Asensio.
Dani Alves to join Man City  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/17/2017 6:53 pm : link
5 million pounds from Juventus
That's a ridiculously low transfer fee for Alves  
Go Terps : 6/17/2017 7:16 pm : link
As for Spain's U21, I did see the match. This current generation had their formative years primarily in the tiki-taka era, and it shows. There are many midfielders of huge technical quality and speedy fullbacks that are really wingers. What concerns me is that the quality isn't as abundant in the center of defense and in the defensive midfield. A better team than Macedonia would have punished Spain's openness at the back today.

I think this could be a problem with the senior team too. The strain that is placed on Busquets to cover for both Jordi Alba AND Carvajal is too much, and opponents know that if you mark Busquets out of the build up (like Italy did last summer with Pelle), then the system breaks down.

What always made tiki-taka work was the urgent pressing high up the pitch. That approach should probably be reemphasized from the top down for Spain. The talent is obviously there, but the defensive steel is lacking.
I 100% agree  
Big Rick in FL : 6/17/2017 8:33 pm : link
The problem with Spain's defense is Carvajal & Alba flying up the pitch. As well as Ramos taking a ton of chances. Yes often out of position and it hurts Madrid at times, but luckily for him Varane has incredible pace so he can cover for Ramos a lot. Pique doesn't have the pace that Varane does. Spain also doesn't have a destroyer in the middle of the field like Madrid does. I can't even count how many times Casemiro covered Ramos' ass last year.

Complete change of subject, but have you heard of anything about Theo Hernandez making the switch from France to Spain?

Ovbiously I want to see how Vallejo progresses, because he was very good in the Bundesliga this year. He still has a lot of weaknesses though. Luckily he's only 20. He'd be another guy who firs well next to Ramos because of his pace. I agree they can't play the same when they did when Xavi & Iniesta were in the XI. I like Julen Lopetegui though. I think he's a very good coach and I think he will have Spain ready to make a deep run in the World Cup. They have to start injecting some of the youth though. As of right now what would be your ideal XI for the next World Cup? I don't know what formation he's going to use. I know his preferred is a 4-3-3.

The guys guaranteed in my XI would be David de Gea, Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Isco, Busquets, Koke & Morata. I'd like to see them get Asensio & Thiago in there also.
A lot can happen in a year  
Go Terps : 6/19/2017 12:54 pm : link
For example if Ronaldo leaves Real Madrid it could mean a lot more playing time for Isco and Asensio. And where do Costa and Morata end up? I'll do two XI's: what I think we're most likely to see if the WC started today and what I would like for them to do.

Most likely:

-----------De Gea

That's a good team capable of winning any tournament, but they are too flimsy at the back. It's just too much on Busquets. It's also vulnerable against any team playing a 3/5 man back line. If they face anyone with hard working defensive forwards and rapid wingbacks they'll be in for trouble as Busquets will be marked out and Alba/Carvajal will be caught up the pitch on counters. It's also a small group that is vulnerable on set pieces.

What I would do:

---------De Gea

The best football Spain has ever played has incorporated two key characteristics:

1. Xabi Alonso playing with Busquets to form a two man defensive midfield; this decision was controversial from Del Bosque in 2010 but it was a major reason they won the World Cup.
2. No true striker. When Fabregas played as a false 9 the team functioned superbly.

I would also consider subbing Azpilicueta in for either Alba or Carvajal depending on the quality of the opponent's wingers. Azpilicueta is a much better defender than either of them.

Spain is at its best when they possess the ball forever, press high up the pitch, and snag a goal created by that press to win 1-0. Chasing goals and failing to press is how they were obliterated by Dutch counterattacks in 2014, and simply outperformed by Italy in 2016.
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