EDITORIAL: SOME THINGS WE LEARNT FROM THE UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE

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SOME THINGS WE LEARNT FROM THE UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE

Spain looks rejuvenated and ready to compete.

Following the controversial departure of Julen Lopetegui from Spain days before the commencement of the World Cup and their abysmal showing in the tournament, (oh, and the retirements of David Silva and Gerard Pique, two key players for the Spanish team for over a decade) we all thought that Luis Enrique, as good a coach as he is, would need time to adjust considering all the aforementioned and also reintegrate the younger players into the National Team set-up. That has not been the case. Spain has played England (semi-finalists at the last World Cup), had the character to come from a goal down and win at Wembley, a venue at which England had not lost a competitive game in 11 years. Days later, they played Croatia, still basking in the euphoria of playing in the World Cup Final, albeit losing, and walloped them 6-0, a game in which they were completely dominant and playing some appealing football.

Problem in Spain? Where is it?

France looks like they are not letting up anytime soon.

So France recently won the World Cup. Everybody is happy, including the neutrals. Then they play their first competitive game after the finals against Germany. The game was quite dull but the French were not remotely bothered. Not one bit. Some days later, they played the Dutch National team and were able to win thanks to a goal by Olivier Giroud, a player who had not scored in 11 games (110 according to some people). Hugo Lloris was missed because the goal conceded by Alphonse Areola was very soft. This current France set-up looks quite scary especially considering that players like Anthony Martial, Alexander Lacazette, Adrien Rabiot and co. are not even in current discussions. Scary stuff.

 

The Germans need new faces and new ideas.

After the Germans (2014 World Cup Winners) finished bottom of their World Cup table, Mesut Ozil retiring with a bang, – this has been poorly handled by the German FA so far- we all felt that there would be some evolution and some drastic changes. Joachim Low stayed as Coach which is understandable but nothing has changed since their last abysmal outing. Against France, the Germans were so timid and looked like they would happily take the draw against the current World Champions. They seemed devoid of creativity and any form of penetration. They also seem to lack a proven goal-scorer for the National Team. Against Peru, a friendly game, they had to score a very late goal to win the match. Things need to change for the Die Mannschaft.

And fast.

The Red Devils will be back.

The Red Devils (no, not those guys) have been turning up the style haven’t they? Since their third-place finish at the World Cup, they have played some games and have defeated their opponents with relative ease. A lot of credit goes to Roberto Martinez. They look like they will be serious contenders for whatever competition they are in.The only issue is that this current generation of players need to win a major trophy- European Cup or World Cup, if not, they will just be regarded as ‘the team that almost’. This team is talented all round but can they really hold their own against an in-form Spain, France and co?

We wait.

Posted by: Abiodun Motunrayo

Twitter: @amesmaniac

Email: [email protected]