MADRID, (Xinhua) --
Spain began their preparations for the World Cup
finals with a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw at home to
Switzerland on Sunday.
It is hard to draw many firm conclusions from a game where Real
Madrid duo Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos failed to appear and
Marco Asensio, Nacho and Lucas Vazquez were restricted to coming
off the bench.
However some things
did become a bit clearer in the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Firstly, the Spanish
are going to seek to pressure their rivals high up the pitch,
looking to force errors in distribution and capitalize on them
The Spanish dominated the ball in Villarreal on Sunday,
finishing the game with 62 percent possession and with most of
the play in the Swiss half.
However coach Julen Lopetegui will be disappointed with the
number of dangerous shots his side managed to get on target.
Spain only managed to direct four shots (including Alvaro
Odriozola’s goal) between the posts.
beforehand that he had still not decided who should play in
attack when Spain kick off against Portugal on June 15 and
Sunday’s game didn’t make his final decision any easier.
He began with Diego Costa partnering Iago Aspas with Aspas
replaced by Lucas Vazquez at halftime and Rodrigo Moreno then
coming on for Costa as the second half progressed.
Costa is a powerful
figure when leading the line well and he is also trouble for
rival central defenders.
However, he lacks the mobility that Aspas, Rodrigo Moreno,
Vazquez and Marco Asensio (another second half sub), as well as
Andres Iniesta and David Silva can provide and it was after
Costa left the pitch that the Spanish attack started to look
The Spanish have
played matches under Lopetegui without a central striker before
and Sunday’s friendly hinted they may do so again in the near
Lopetegui has one
more friendly against Tunisia on June 9 to help him make his
final decision and he could well start with Moreno up front and
Vazquez and Asensio out wide.
Busquets was another absentee on Sunday and although Spain still
had few problems controlling possession, his absence also made
it clear that he has no direct replacement.
It is not easy to
replace Busquets and Barcelona also struggle when he is out, but
neither of Lopetegui’s two options (Thiago Alcantara and Koke)
looked happy in the role, given that they play their best
football further up the park.
If anything happens to Busquets in Russia, Lopetegui could
regret not calling Asier Illaramendi or Rodrigo Fernandez into
Spain defended well
without Ramos, with Cesar Azpilicueta showing his adaptability
when he partnered Pique in central defense, but the Spanish will
be annoyed that a bad error from David de Gea allowed the Swiss
to capitalize on the only chance they created.
Sunday’s game was
very much a friendly and perhaps that didn’t help the Spanish,
who need to keep the pace high in order for their pressing game
Lopetegui will be looking for more against Tunisia and then he
will have some tough decisions to make, especially in attack.