Luis Enrique has earned Spanish football’s trust amid La Roja’s stuttering start to Nations League

La Roja have not enjoyed the best of starts to their Nations League campaign but they have every reason to be optimistic about their future under Luis Enrique.

Spain made it to the final of the competition’s previous edition only to lose to world champions France but have drawn their opening two games this time with Portugal and the Czech Republic.

Spain took the lead against Portugal in Seville only to concede late on and draw 1-1. They then rescued a late point against the Czech Republic in Prague when Inigo Martinez scored a 90th minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.

Both performances lacked fluidity and were not befitting of a team that should be one of the favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar. If you would like to back Spain to do just that see the best football odds here.

But seasoned observers of this team will not be losing their heads over 180 less-than-inspiring minutes. This side is incomplete – it is not quite incisive enough in the final third and can also be shaky at the back.

The strongest part of this team lies between the two, in their midfield. Luis Enrique has structured this team around Sergio Busquets so he looks protected and magisterial. His two Barcelona teammates Pedri and Gavi – at the opposite ends of their careers – flourish beside him although the former is injured at the moment.

Luis Enrique is the finest coach working in international football today alongside Hansi Flick of Germany and Roberto Mancini of Italy. He led Barcelona to the treble in 2015, building a ferociously exciting side around the talents of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar Junior that has not been seen since at Camp Nou.

He does not have the same attacking ability with Spain but he has built a cohesive collective that is more than the sum of their parts. He is using these Nations League games as time for experimentation.

Spain play Switzerland in Geneva tomorrow before rounding off the international break and the 2021/22 season in Malaga against the Czech Republic.

That will be that until the beginning of the 2022/23 season, when they complete the Nations League campaign by facing Switzerland at home and then Portugal away.

Then comes the real test – the group stage of the World Cup. Spain are in Group E alongside Germany, Japan and the winners of the play-off between Costa Rica and New Zealand.

Tags La Roja Luis Enrique
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