Soccer

What does this deep EURO run mean for a young Spain squad moving forward?

SEVILLE, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Pablo Sarabia of Spain celebrates with Koke after scoring their side's third goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group E match between Slovakia and Spain at Estadio La Cartuja on June 23, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

It has been 9 years since the Spanish national team last got their hands on a major international trophy. Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Ramos, and Gerard Pique are all big names that are no longer part of the squad. The only ones that remain from that legendary Spanish team are captain Sergio Busquets and left-back Jordi Alba. This new and renovated Spain team might not be as good or as legendary as the team that won three consecutive international trophies. No other team will. However, there are plenty of reasons for Spanish fans to dream of another trophy returning to their homeland.

Spain knows how to deal with adversity

Despite reaching the EURO 2020 semifinal, Spain�s road to a deep European championship was nothing but easy. With an already new and young squad that has never played together in a major tournament, Spain was faced with the virus that has terrorized the world for the past year and a half. A week before the Euros, captain Sergio Busquets tested positive for COVID-19. This meant that the Barcelona midfielder had to self-isolate, and the other 23 selected players had to train individually. Due to this, Spain entered the Euros not as prepared as most teams in the tournament. This was just the first of many major setbacks that the Spanish had to overcome.

Two games into the tournament, Spain failed to beat Sweden and Poland despite playing good football and creating plenty of chances. This resulted in a lot of criticism towards manager Luis Enrique and strikers Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno. Fans lost hope and expressed lots of frustration on social media. Spain now had to win their next game against Slovakia to advance to the knockout stages.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - JUNE 23: Aymeric Laporte of Spain celebrates with Koke after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group E match between Slovakia and Spain at Estadio La Cartuja on June 23, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Spain are suprisingly mentally strong

EURO 2020 kicked off for Spain in the third game of the group stages. A 5-0 win against Slovakia secured them a spot in the Round of 16. The next opponent would be World Cup runners-up Croatia. Spain was a clear favorite to advance, but that would not happen without facing adversity. Unai Simon committed an unforgivable mistake, one that is hard to come back from. However, this Spain team proved to have the mental strength needed to win big games. Unai Simon made a couple of crucial saves, and the team came back twice to win 5-3 and advance.

All this adversity would break most teams apart, but this young Spain team found a way to overcome all of it. Overcoming adversity and being mentally strong as a team might be the most important thing when taking part in a major tournament. This is one reason why fans should be excited to see how far this team will go in the World Cup next year.

Exciting and talented

A deep run into the EURO 2020 semifinals proved how talented and how well this Spain team plays. Pedri, Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia. The list of young talent goes on. This squad only lacked experience, and it is safe to say that they have experienced everything there is to experience in a major tournament. Spain�s EURO 2020 squad was dominant in the competition.

They ranked number 1 in match possession (67 percent) and goals scored (13). Spain showed throughout this tournament that they are the best team in terms of ball control and chance creation. The only concern going into this semifinal was if Spain could perform when playing against tournament contenders. They got their chance against Italy, which has been unbeaten for 34 games. Spain did not only play great football, but they dominated the game and had better chances. However, great football does not always win you games, as Italy defeated the Spaniards in the penalty shootout.

TOPSHOT - Spain's coach Luis Enrique (C) celebrates with team members after their team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final football match between Italy and Spain at Wembley Stadium in London on July 6, 2021. (Photo by CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Overcoming adversity and pure talent is what should give hope to all the Spanish fans around the world. This young core will continue to mature in the next year and a half with their respective clubs. Therefore, it will only get better from here. Spain has proved that it can compete at the highest level. After all, they were only two penalties away from a grand European final. With a great leader in Luis Enrique, Why cant Spain contend for the 2022 World Cup?

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