Coach Vincente Del Bosque is not averse to the idea of introducing fresh faces into his side, ahead of their clash against Macedonia. Despite a victory against second placed Slovakia, Del Bosque is leaving nothing to chance as Spain look to seal automatic qualification.
Head coach Vicente Del Bosque called up the likes of Raul Garcia, Kiko Casilla, Paco Alcacer and Dani Carvajal to his squad, in an attempt to pressure his starting XI to perform to their ability.
Del Bosque will expect his side to win comfortably against Macedonia, who they beat 5-1 in Valencia on the same date a year ago, after a performance against Slovakia that showed signs of Spain being back to their best.
Diego Costa continues his profligacy at the apex of Spain’s attack
Since deciding to ply his trade for La Roja, Diego Costa has been unable to emulate his club form for his country. Against a dogged Slovakia, the Chelsea forward continued his lean run ahead of goal, with only one scalp in his last 8 appearances.
Spain, to their credit, having been managing without his input, as the likes of Iniesta, Silva and Pedro have been maintaining Spain’s goal difference at a favourable level. The former Atletico hit-man is still to step into his stride for Spain, as he seems unable to capitalise on the system of play that has brought the Spanish team critical acclaim. His off-the-ball movement and positioning for crosses leave much to be desired. In addition to these, Costa’s lack of close control and build up play are failing his ability at the most crucial instances.
Valencia forward, Paco Alcacer has already scored 4 goals in all the 7 caps he has won for La Roja. Often overlooked, due to his age (22) , and the fact he plays for Valencia, the forward provides Del Bosque with a viable alternative to Costa. Upon his entry into the game against Slovakia, at Costa’s expense, Alcacer’s movement and eagerness shone.
With Del Bosque admitting that he would not be afraid to make changes, the Valencia hit-man might well get a start against last-place Macedonia, as Spain seek to seal automatic qualification.
Spain can reclaim credibility with a dominant performance
The Spanish national team has still retained a core of the players that were involved in their embarrassing World Cup exit last summer. With an unchanged back-four and familiar faces in midfield and attack, Spain have slowly rediscovered the swagger that brought them unbridled success.
Del Bosque has defended goalkeeper Iker Casillas like a mother defends her son, ensuring that his most capped player will start against Macedonia. Moreover, his reliance on the old guard is slowly being tempered with inclusions of younger players such as Koke, Carvajal and the aforementioned Alcacer.
The balance between experience and eagerness is a fine one, and one which Del Bosque will have to strike if Spain are to re-discover the form that made them truly unstoppable.