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EURO 2012 Preview #4: Del Bosque tries to add even more central midfielders November 16, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Euro 2012, Spanish soccer.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Spain is a team for purists. I’m not having this participation by the likes of Sergio Ramos and David Villa. Look it up: they are not central midfielders. For the pure expression of Spain’s style, you need more than they’ve been playing. Pep Guardiola’s experiments with six central midfielders are brave, but they’re not enough. Spain needs more. Vicente Del Bosque knows this. This is what he has in store:

Here’s a breakdown of the various players’ functions:

  • Javier Martinez: number five. He’s the deepest lying player and as such it’s his duty to start attacks.
  • Sergio Busquets: number five-and-a-half. He’s also the deepest lying player. He also starts attacks. You can never start too many attacks.
  • Xabi Alonso: deep-lying playmaker. Stays deep so he can see the whole of play, allowing him to spray the ball out to the flanks, which is what he would do if this formation contained any wide players. Sprays the ball to other parts of the center.
  • Xavi: regista. Organizes, looks for open players, recirculates the ball, keeps moves going, sets tempo.
  • Thiago: regista’s assistant. Brings regista his water bottle during stoppages. Also, takes all throw-ins. Mostly there to watch and learn from Xavi. Sometimes, in the 80th minute, is allowed to control small parts of the tempo.
  • Borja Valero: less-deep-lying playmaker. Stays less deep so he can see less of the entire field. Without anyone playing on the flanks, spreading the play to the flanks takes more than one man to do, sometimes.
  • Santi Cazorla: inverted right-winger. Drags the left-back into the center to create space on the flank for Spain’s right-back, who does not exist. Comes open unexpectedly in the center, the last place anyone expects this Spain team to pass the ball.
  • Andres Iniesta: inverted left-winger. In charge of linking midfield and attack. Since there is no attack, mostly just moves off the ball thinking about wine.
  • Cesc Fabregas: false nine. Moves deep from a forward position to allow other players to move forward around him.
  • David Silva: false eleven. Moves deep from a forward position to confuse the defense into believing Spain won’t play through the center.
  • Iker Casillas: goalkeeper. Del Bosque is lobbying FIFA not to require him to use one of these so he can bring in Bruno Soriano.
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