La Roja face France tomorrow evening at San Siro in Milan in the final of the Nations League. It’s quite a test given France are the reigning world champions following their success at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but Luis Enrique’s men will enter the game without an ounce of fear. Like their coach, they’re self-confident.
Spain saw off the European champions, Italy, in their own back yard on Wednesday evening. Ferran Torres scored a first-half brace to set them up well, and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s strike ended up being nothing more than a consolation. France beat Belgium 3-2 in a thriller the following evening; Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Theo Hernandez scored to overcome Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku’s first-half efforts.
Much attention will be placed on the performance of Barcelona’s Gavi, the 17-year-old midfielder who made his senior international debut against Italy and stunned observers with his maturity and poise. Similarly, the performances of Benzema and Mbappe will be under close scrutiny – the former is one of Madrid’s most important players, while the latter has long been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
“In the attacking phase it won’t affect us, because we don’t look at the rival when we’re attacking,” Luis Enrique said pre-match in comments carried by Marca when asked whether the talent of Benzema and Mbappe will condition his approach. “In the defensive phase we always tailor individual instructions to the rival. Saying what we’re going to do is easy, the difficult thing is executing it. We’re coming into this final relaxed and with the ambition of hitting our highest level.”