Spain thumped Jorge Sampaoli’s Argentina comprehensively as they put six goals past the South American side. Lionel Messi was out of the game due to injury and were handed a footballing lesson by Lopetgui’s Spanish contingent. Isco was the star on the night as he grabbed a hat trick to top off a very impressive performance where everything went through him for the home side. Here, I look to breakdown his tactical influence on the game.
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Spain (4-3-3) Manager: Julen Lopetgui
De gea; Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Thiago, Koke, Iniesta; Isco, Asensio, Costa
Argentina (4-2-3-1) Manager: Jorge Sampaoli
Romero; Bustos, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; Mascherano, Biglia; Lo Celso, Banega, Meza; Higuain
- Lopetgui seems to have taken a leaf out of how Isco plays for Real as the Spaniard replicated a similar role in this setup for Spain against Argentina. He was effectvive in build up and almost everything in the middle third for Spain went through him.
- Isco replicated a very similar role to what he plays at Real, especially during the ‘bigger’ matches where he is involved in all phases of build up. He was constantly looking for the ball and ensured progression
- Isco’s dribbling is his major asset and he put this to good use against an Argentina side that pressed high up the pitch. He was able to resist the press and also beat his man, thereby effectively overcoming a line of defense and played his teammates through in advanced positions
- As the game progressed, ARG’s press became wayward, and Isco was often found in between the lines high up the pitch when Spain won the ball back or were able to play through ARG. Isco’s excellence on ball coupled with abundance in space meant he could carve ARG apart
Lopetgui seems to have found the right balance in this side, barring a position or two with Isco being the crown jewel in the side. His dribbling makes for so much in his game, but it should not detract one from the fact that he is equally proficient in passing and making the right decision in possession, in all phases of the game. This might be a friendly and a Messi-less Argentinian side, but that should take nothing away from the Spanish side’s dominance in the game.
It was a performance of the highest order from Isco and Spain as a whole as they were tactically and technically proficient in all departments of the game. They were able to exploit the weaknesses in Argentina’s game plan, which was undone by some imperfect execution on the pitch. The technical quality of the players in the Spanish side ensured that they were able to play through the press, combined with some high level decision making in congested spaces and in the final third as well. It was fitting that Isco grabbed a hat trick, to top off a fantastic game for him on a personal level as he was involved thoroughly in build up.
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