Bashundhara Kings’ Spanish manager Óscar Bruzón thinks the odds of Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the Qatar World Cup going far in the competition pale in comparison to the star-studded camp that lifted the trophy 12 years ago in South Africa.
Spain’s 26-man squad overlooked the defensive experience of Sergio Ramos, though Tite included the 39-year-old Dani Alves in his Brazil line-up.
Enrique went for Sergio Busquets in midfield and Alvaro Morata to embellish up front, while Barcelona youngsters Pedri and Gavi provide the team with an exciting balance of youth and experience.
But for Bruzón, the squad lacks the flare and incisiveness of Xavi Hernandes and Andrés Iniesta who dominated global competitions from 2008-2012.
“Spain are set to enter our 12th consecutive World Cup with the hopes of achieving glory for the first time since 2010 when we lifted the World Cup trophy.”
“My heart stays with Spain, but my head, according to the depth of their squads and the biggest number of differential players, says that the favourites on paper are Brazil, Argentina and even France,” said the 45-year-old Bruzón, who was the interim coach of Bangladesh in the 2021 SAFF Championship.
Spain’s recent performance gave off sparks of quality within the team as they proceeded to the final four of UEFA Nations League beating Portugal on the way, though a defeat to Switzerland before that weighed heavy on the team.
But the World Cup is a different stage altogether.
Spain were pitted into Group E along with Costa Rica, Japan and four-time champions Germany. Bruzón, who led Bashundhara Kings to success with an associative and dynamic game style, drew hopes from the team’s semifinal advancement in the Euro 2020.
“We have not been dealt an easy group though, as we will have to overcome 2014 world champions Germany, as well as Japan and Costa Rica. That being said, Enrique has a good record with the Spanish national team, reached the semifinals in the last Euros and the final four at the recently played Nations League.”
Spain’s success mostly came from team chemistry where talismanic players like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe can change the fate of matches for Brazil, Argentina and France.
Morata boasts the highest scoring record in the Spanish squad with 27 goals in 57 appearances. The 30-year-old forward’s 88th-minute winner fired Spain past Portugal in the Nations League.
Among others, 22-year-old Ferran Torres scored 13 goals while Pablo Sarabia has nine. Ansu Fati, a promising 20-year old, might not appear much on papers with just one goal to his name, but the Barcelona forward’s vision and abilities make him one of the most exciting youngsters to look ahead to.
Bruzón thinks despite not having a sparkling combination of a decade before, Enrique’s repertoire of players was still excellent with the ability to perceive how to perform at the highest level of the game.
[Writing in English by Syed Mahmud Onindo]