Spain manager Vicente del Bosque defends decision to start without striker

 

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended his decision to start without a striker in their 1-1 Euro 2012 draw against Italy and suggested he might use the same tactic for Thursday's Group C clash with Ireland.

The world and European champions needed a 64th-minute Cesc Fabregas leveller to rescue a point in the Polish port city of Gdansk on Sunday after substitute Antonio Di Natale had fired the Italians ahead four minutes earlier.

Del Bosque left Fernando Torres and his other two centre forwards, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo, out of his starting lineup, opting instead for an attacking line featuring a roving Fabregas and Andres Iniesta and David Silva.

Del Bosque said one of the aims of his formation had been to give Spain more security in possession but they struggled to get their swift passing game going on a dry and heavy-looking pitch against a well-drilled Italian side.

Iniesta caused problems with his darting runs in from the left and forced Gianluigi Buffon into several smart saves, while Silva had a quiet game by his standards - although he did provide the assist for the goal - before he was replaced just past the hour mark by winger Jesus Navas.

When Torres came on for the last 15 minutes as a tight game began to open up he fluffed two scoring chances when he was through on goal with only Buffon to beat.

"We have a lot of confidence in what we did," Del Bosque said on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser. "We have three fantastic forwards but Cesc is also a good forward."

"He has a lot of composure on the ball, he links up well with everyone and he gets into good scoring positions.

"We did what we thought was best even if we risked being mistaken. We have players who are very difficult to control and I thought it was the right time to do it."

Del Bosque's tactics drew criticism from his predecessor Luis Aragones, who was Spain coach when they won the continental title four years ago.

In a guest column for Marca sports daily on Monday, Aragones said the decision to deploy Fabregas as what he called a "false centre forward" had surprised him.

"Obviously, I respect the coach's decision but I would have played with a centre forward," wrote Aragones, known as "the wise man of Hortaleza" after the Madrid suburb he comes from.

"In the second half Torres ... found space and caused a lot of damage," he added.

Spain meet Ireland on Thursday after Giovanni Trapattoni's side were thumped 3-1 by Croatia on Sunday and Del Bosque said he may start without a striker again.

"It's possible we'll play the same way," he told Cadena Ser.

"I don't rule out putting someone up front but (playing without a striker) is an option we have," he added.

"I believe they are good players to do it, Silva, Fabregas and Iniesta, and I believe they are forwards.

"Matches are usually different in the second half, when the game opens up.

"In the first half teams tend to be better organised and there are fewer chances for counter attacks.

"We made the most of the space (when Torres came on) but unfortunately we were unable to take our chances."

Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?