UNDER-21S | SPAIN 1-4 BELGIUM
Spain’s new wave of Under-21s crash, thrashed 4-1 by Belgium
Celades’ revamped side lost against Belgium in a fixture which increased the doubts over the second national team.
The new generation of the Under-21s lost, unreservedly, against Belgium in a fixture which only served to exacerbate the doubts of the second national team. If a month ago the punishment for the team was failing to qualify for the European Championship and Olympic Games, the current crop suffered a corrective which seemed similar to that setback and was a consequence of the pressure that has been imposed on them as a result. It was not the day for a brand new generation. Not yet.
Celades opted for a team with gunpowder up front, by pairing Munir and Sandro, freeing Denis Suárez and Saúl behind and giving the left flank to Moi Gómez and Gayá, who added danger each time that he could. All of them were held together by Samper, the equilibrist of a block who was charged with being stable with the ball at his feet.
The Belgians, powerful physically as they have been for the last few years, detected it and launched themselves into putting pressure on the Spanish centre-backs, to whom the ball and the wet pitch forced them to execute everything perfectly in a technical sense.
It was not a defender, however, who failed in this regard. When Belgium took a corner kick - when Spain were preparing to mount a counter-attack - Sandro’s high-risk pass over the area and Cissé’s retrieval of the ball resulted in a goal after a shot from Kebesele.
It there was little desire to reconnect with the Under-21s, this prompted even more sighs. The sense of fragility was evident in La Rojita, although there were several occasions when the attacking players demonstrated their potential.
Moi Gomez, down the left, was the most successful. A killer pass of his found Sandro, who struck the ball wide when he only needed to push the ball into the corner.
The best Belgian player, the Anderlecht midfielder Tielemans, conjured up a driving run and a shot from distance that surprised Kepa and everyone who was falling on his path.
The 0-2 was too tough to feel alien, especially at a psychological level. And above all when on the stroke of half-time Saúl crossed and immediately afterwards Sandro hit the woodwork, when a goal would have reduced the deficit. Once again, Moi Gómez had created the move with a diagonal pass.
Disappointment was taking over A Malata, although Celades tried to alter things in attack with his changes. Munir went to the middle and Deulofeu came in, with all of the right flank for himself. The only Spanish goal arrived in the same manner as the majority of the Belgian strikes. Saúl produced some pressure high up the field and the loose ball landed perfectly for Munir, who curled the ball home. It seemed that there would have been a Spanish reaction but nothing was further from reality.
The Belgians continued biting and with each spell of pressure they took oil. Musonda was generous with it and also brilliant with the ball at his feet. The Chelsea player was uncontrollable for the weak Spanish defence. In fact, two asphyxiating presses as Spain tried to get the ball out, once again, made the unexpected possible - the goals of Kayembe and Raman that completed the rout against the new generation of Spain’s Under-21s.
Maybe it was not the time nor the opponent to start a new cycle. There was still an unhealed wound from the previous group’s torment in Cádiz and the current group also suffered to a similar extent. There is much work to do. In fact, everything is there to be done.