The De la Fuente era begins with the Eurocup on the horizon

The De la Fuente era begins with the Eurocup on the horizon

The De la Fuente era begins in the Spanish team. At least on the field, because in terms of recruitment work, the man from La Rioja has already fought his first great battle with the official epilogue in Sergio Ramos’ career as an international. Partly dissipated by the noise due to the goodbye of the PSG central defender after a video call from the new tenant of the national bench, the project in La Roja begins to walk on the green, the only judge capable of determining success or failure.

As usual on the first day of concentration, the day left the traditional trickle of smiling faces upon arrival at the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas. Among the most smiling were the three debutants, the Osasuna center-back David García, the Real Sociedad midfielder Martín Zubimendi and the Espanyol striker Joselu. Some are released and others return after a long time, as is the case of the veterans Iago Aspas and Nacho, two children with new shoes.

“Very happy, super excited and eager to start and get together with my teammates,” Joselu said upon arrival at the home of the Spanish team. “I was in the locker room with my colleagues watching the call live and when I saw my name there I was very excited,” explained David García, another new boy in the Las Rozas office. “You just have to see the players that Norway and Scotland have, surely it will be difficult there too,” warned Zubimendi, the third rookie, a midfield quarterback at Real Sociedad who is facing the long-awaited final jump to the absolute.

The 26 called up are already concentrated in Las Rozas, with a smooth first training session, behind open doors to ingratiate themselves with a fans in need of happiness to recover their enthusiasm and who packed the stands of the main field of the Ciudad del Fútbol. Gavi and Balde, who were bothered by the classic, trained separately, and Borja Iglesias and Yéremy Pino were already among the players, the two footballers recruited urgently due to the injuries to Pedri and Gerard Moreno, called to be important with Spain but subscribers to nursing in recent times.

Spain will have several work sessions ahead to instill among the internationals the Luis de la Fuente style book, well known by the many footballers who have already passed through the hands of the La Rioja coach in the lower categories. The coach’s extensive tour of grassroots football will serve to pave the way for the revolution undertaken by a list that breaks with more than half of the team that represented Spain in the World Cup in Qatar.

The disappointing KO against Morocco in the round of 16 of the biggest national team tournament determined the abrupt end of the Luis Enrique era in La Roja and precipitated the rise of the until now U-21 coach, who has the challenge of revitalizing Spain at a time when no big names Ahead, the challenge of consolidating the projection of a new generation of young talents without losing sight of the traditional results-based approach that prevails in elite football.

of the objectives

Two challenges stand out on the agenda. The first involves securing the ticket for the Euro Cup in Germany next year, in a minimum objective that consists of achieving one of the first two places in a group that Spain shares with Norway, Scotland, Georgia and Cyprus. The Nordic team, which will precisely be the first stone on the road on Saturday at La Rosaleda, is a priori the most difficult rival, with two names that stand out a lot from the group: the voracious striker from Manchester City Erling Haaland and the talented midfielder from Arsenal Martin Odegaard, formerly of Madrid and Real Sociedad.

In addition to the Norwegians, Spain will face the traditional Scottish direct game, which earned the British team to qualify for the last Euro Cup; the threat of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, watchword of the Georgian team and sensation of European football in Naples, and a Cypriot team that starts like Cinderella in the group.

Beyond a ticket that La Roja should secure sufficiently, De la Fuente will face the second final four of the League of Nations in a row for Spain in June. After being runner-up in the tournament in 2021, when La Roja lost to France in the final in Milan, this time the Spanish team repeats the semifinal in Enschede (Netherlands) against Italy, which they eliminated two years ago in this round. Despite being light years away from a World Cup or a Euro Cup, a title would add luster to this new stage in the national team and would allow the fan to hook on to a year of the Euro Cup, the immediate horizon for the De la Fuente era.


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