The defeat against Switzerland once again left traces of one of the stigmas that accompany Luis Enrique's Spain.
Creating chances and scoring goals has been within the reach of most of the rivals that La Roja have faced in the stage of the Asturian coach.
Under his direction, in 39 games the number of goals conceded amounts to 31, an average of 0.8 per game.
It is the defensive problems, derived from the technician's daring proposal, which have led to another of the labels that hangs from his Spain: he can win or lose with anyone.
This Tuesday in Braga, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal measures the defensive strength of this Spain without caciques in its central axis.
Without Sergio Ramos, cut from the list for the European Championship and now by technical decision, that role of the head of the defensive area had been submerged by Aymeric Laporte, about to reappear after the knee operation he underwent last summer.
The Manchester City center-back had become Luis Enrique's leading defender.
The loss of Laporte has left the defensive line without the player who marked the line and also the finest when it came to getting the ball played.
Nor is Íñigo Martínez, who succeeded Laporte in the chain of command.
The Athletic centre-back, recently recovered from knee tendinitis, will have eight games to play after the national team break to secure his place in Qatar.
The coach from Gijón hopes to count on both centre-backs for the World Cup, aware of the importance of both as defensive leaders.
Spain must face "the final", as the coach has defined tonight's game, without leaders in the center of defense.
The normal thing is that one of the two central defenders, Eric García or Pau Torres, jumps out of the eleven to make way for Diego Llorente, who is very much to the coach's liking.
During the week, the Ciudad del Fútbol in Las Rozas commented on the good start to the season that he has had with Leeds United.
Because of how he has acted when critics have targeted Eric García, this would be the favorite to form with Diego Llorente.
Aware that the defensive line has been questioned beyond the two corner kick goals conceded against Switzerland, Luis Enrique launched one of his tribal proclamations yesterday.
“I think the most powerful line I have is defense”, he wanted to emphasize after thinking about the answer before launching the message: “Unlike what you [the press] think.
They all defend, from the strikers to the midfielders, and to attack it's the same, the first one to do it is Unai Simón.
As much as you think otherwise, the strongest line I have is the defense”, the Spanish coach wanted to emphasize.
The message was one more of his in defense of players or lines in question.
Luis Enrique also lowered the two corner goals scored by the Swiss.
“I don't know what is the most important thing, honestly, to defend set pieces well, after so many years of career... I remember a streak as a player in which a coach had a lot of influence on it, on working on it, and we were still a disaster.
My concern is to recover the players to beat Portugal, but now I don't have time to work on them, although we analyze them, of course”.
With the idea of the game that he has imposed, the center-backs must sweep away from the center of the field any attempt by the opponent to come out playing that exceeds the high pressure ordered by Luis Enrique.
A risky system, which tonight will be put to the test by the rapid transitions executed by Portugal.
And without area bosses.</CW>
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