Spain have come in for heavy criticism this World Cup after being eliminated by Morocco in the Round of 16, not least because of their lack of ambition with the ball.
When Luis Enrique arrived in the job, it was said that he would bring a far more direct and aggressive Spain to international football. For three years of his time in charge, he did just that. Yet when it mattered most, Spain looked lateral and strung together over a thousand passes without much of a threat to go with it.
Former Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello had little time for it.
“With touch-touch and more touch you don’t win, not even with 73% possession and not a single shot on goal. That of the goalkeeper to the side, and again to the goalkeeper and then to the other side… it’s over. And look, I had high hopes that Spain would go very far but with so many touches it is impossible.”
Capello made those comments to Marca and there will be plenty in the Spanish capital who will agree with him.
New manager Luis de la Fuente is supposed to be a continuation of Luis Enrique’s style, although with slightly more versatility to move away from that credo. However if he too fails, there could be a questioning of the entire Spanish identity as a national team.