Sweden – Spain: Stoppage Time Goal Books Spain’s Place In Euro 2020 (1-1)

Once Sweden settled into a comfortable shape, Spain struggled to break the hosts down. Predictability in attack, coupled with lingering issues in defensive transition, plagued Spain throughout the evening, as the visitors were lucky to escape with a point against a resolute Swedish side.

Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell.

Heading into Tuesday night’s match against Sweden, on paper Spain’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign looked relatively straightforward. Manager Robert Moreno’s side had amassed seventeen points in seven matches and were a single point away from qualifying for the summer tournament. However, dig a bit deeper and the underlying issues of the squad are clear to see. 

Inflated victories over the Faroe Islands and Malta aside, Spain struggled to assert themselves in what should have be an easy group – filled out by Sweden, Norway and Romania. Heading into their match against Sweden, the European giants had mustered just 18 goals – only one better than Sweden up to that point. 

The lack of offensive thrust has led Moreno to experiment with his side’s formation and personnel. Against Sweden he elected to use a 4-4-2 diamond with Rodri at the base and Dani Ceballos at the attacking tip. Filling out the midfield were Thiago Alcántara and Napoli’s Fabián Ruiz. In defense, Sergio Ramos’ suspension due to card accumulation meant a center-back tandem of Iñigo Martínez and Raúl Albiol was fielded, while Juan Bernat and Daniel Carvajal drew in at left and right fullback respectively. Up front the manager went with Gerard Moreno, who has been in good form for his club side Villarreal and Mikel Oyarzabal.   . . .

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