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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders