Luis de la Fuente's press conference in the Hampden Park auditorium was revealing. The constant movement of the hands between response and response, gestures, looks, revealed a nervous man, aware, perhaps for the first time, of the real dimension of an absolute selection. The sad image of Spain against Scotland can be explained in numbers:

1. Spain had not lost a match by two goals difference since the knockout stages of Euro 2016 (2-0 against Italy). There were 81 duels.

2. Spain had not been without scoring in a European Championship qualifier since 2006. And it has not lost in this same area since 2014 (2-1 in Slovakia).

3. De la Fuente has taken two games to lose, something that has not occurred since Vicente Miera in 1991. Everyone else took longer (Luis Enrique, for example, took four).

Find out more

Euro 2024.

Closeness, education and a beer: this is the new Spain of Luis de la Fuente

  • Writing: EDUARDO J. CASTELAO Málaga

Closeness, education and a beer: this is the new Spain of Luis de la Fuente

This could be followed indefinitely, because numerology is very precise. And yet, I would not explain everything that happens today in the Spanish team, prey to a decision, that of changing the coach, which today, after the debut of the new coach, offers doubts. The debate is installed outside the Federation (press and fans) but also inside, where there is still a current of opinion against change and that glimpses potholes in the future: "It will cost this new stage", was heard inside the return flight of the team, in the early hours of yesterday.

Taking as good the revolution in the list of summoned -the level of the Spanish players is what it is, and where there is no can not be removed-, the focus is now on the other revolution, in which it goes from one party to another. De la Fuente made eight changes out of 11 possible, blew up the entire defense, and the result was what it was. The focus is also on his subsequent press conference. Beyond the nerves that his gestural language taught, the message was the worst possible: "I am satisfied because the idea we had we have developed." "I don't move an inch from the plan." "The plan we've developed is the one we've worked on." They are all verbatim phrases. And one last one: "I don't want to compare myself with the past. I want my idea to be recognized."

That obsession runs through the head of the coach and his supporters. Erase the past. Ignore that there was a stage directed by Luis Enrique, characterized by the existence of a fixed idea about how to play, invariable beyond the rival and circumstances. The famous Plan B did not exist and, in part, bringing that ideology to paroxysm contributed to his death. During this concentration, the proliferation of messages, more or less direct, that have come from within to underestimate the Asturian stage has been very striking. It is true that inside the dressing room there was a response to Luis Enrique during the World Cup. In fact, as Marca revealed on Tuesday, telling 'Lucho' to his face that maybe they should play long at some point cost Laporte the substitution against Japan. He was the only one who dared to tell the technician to his face what much of the booth thought.

Rodri, captain of the national team. EFE

But, apart from that anecdote, during these days there have been several anti-Luis Enrique messages: "Perhaps it is true that before we had players of the same profile and when we needed another alternative we did not have players of those characteristics. Having strikers allows you to shoot centers, be more vertical...", said Rodri in the preview of Scotland. Along the same lines, Aspas, Ceballos or the coach himself have spoken. However, in the atmosphere of the Scottish night, when the bus of the selection left behind the stadium on the way to the airport, there were those who were certain that with Luis Enrique perhaps the score would have been the same, but the image would have been different. The hallmarks of that team, which made it competitive in all the games it played (an overwhelming possession, perhaps excessive, and a pressure after losing the fierce ball) had been diluted to give way to a hybrid difficult to explain, already seen against Norway, nuanced that day by the two final goals of Joselu.

The generation of players who today are likely to be in the selection does not have the level of yesteryear. Of the 11 that jumped to Hampden Park, only three are playing the Champions League this year (Kepa, Ceballos and Rodri). That's why the idea of having a team, with its flaws and its virtues, was what justified some eccentricities of Luis Enrique. De la Fuente, whose next challenge is none other than Italy, is required to create the same because, apart from having a plan B, something necessary and that would improve the previous stage, it would be essential to have a plan A. De la Fuente has not had material time to make that plan A recognizable, but he already knows that the time, in the absolute selection, is less than in the sub'21.

In any case, the tendency of the team, especially away from home, comes from afar. With Luis Enrique, the team lost in Sweden, to Switzerland at home, won miraculously in Kosovo and Georgia... They were very poor numbers after reaching the semifinal of Euro 2021 (13 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses), made up by important performances against teams such as France, Germany or Italy. It would not be fair, therefore, to focus everything bad on Luis de la Fuente, who nevertheless lives imprisoned, like it or not, of the long shadow of Luis Enrique.

According to The Trust Project criteria

Learn more

  • Spain national football team
  • football
  • Luis Enrique
  • Luis de la Fuente