Connect with us

Interviews

World Cup 2014 Expert Interview: Discussing the Spanish midfield set-up & available options

As part of our World Cup coverage, we have interviewed journalists, correspondents, experts & writers representing each of the 32 countries to give you, the readers, a better understanding of the 32 nations participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Here are the list of interviewees.

Spain World Cup Interview

For this interview, focusing on Spain, we have interviewed David Cartlidge. He is a Spanish football expert at Mirror Football, Sports (Spain), FourFourTwo and WhoScored. He is also the online editor of beINSPORT (USA). Follow him on Twitter @davidjaca

Before getting right into it, given the records this Spanish side has set, is this the greatest national team of all time in the history of football?

I believe so, most certainly. I think the level of success and standard of football shown during this reign is proof enough for that. While I believe they already are the greatest, if they win in Brazil I don’t believe it can even be up for debate. Brazil 1970 is the only other national side to come close.

With the likes of Costa, Negredo in the squad, and last year’s failure to win the Confederations Cup, along with tiki-taka getting exposed a bit this season, will Spain make a proactive change to their style of play, or will it still be reactive?

The basic values will be there, but Del Bosque isn’t naive enough to play the same way overall. There has to be progression, otherwise Spain will fail. Spain did play a more expansive game under Luis Aragónes, then they went to control with Del Bosque. This has to be the next stage in progression. Teams know how Spain will setup now, so the likes of Diego Costa and Koke coming into the squad add a different dynamic.

Diego Costa’s decision to not play for the home country will certainly infuriate the supporters in Brazil. But if anyone, surely Costa will thrive in that atmosphere. What impact do you think he will have on the tournament

Initially he seemed like a starter but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense he’s an impact player. I think his energy, and different kind of output, could be lethal from the bench. Maybe he will play his way into contention, but Del Bosque is rarely radical with his changes. Instead, it will be more staggered.

MORE READING | Analysing Spain’s tactical approach, formation & set-up

Teams are pressing Spain in midfield, we saw Brazil do it very effectively last year. Does the aging of Xavi and Alonso have anything to do with that working well?

Most certainly. It’s going to be an added hurdle for Spain to navigate, facilitating for their evident decline. The players on the bench are there, to come in and impact. It could be, especially in Xavi’s case, someone else begins to pull the strings more. Even from a more advanced position. It’s such a shame Thiago won’t be there, despite the level of midfield talent still available, as he was probably the player to take Spain forward.

Sergio Busquets has been a fantastic servant for club and country, but the perception is that he offers little in the way of penetrating passing. Do you think sacrificing him to bring in a Pirlo style playmaker will compromise the defence?

I think the argument around dropping Sergio Busquets is over. It’s settled. The win in 2012 showed that, he’s needed. Busquets is one of the most special, intelligent and essential players to have come through in Spanish football. There are others who can penetrate in advanced areas, while still keeping Busquets in the team. Removing him would be a great mistake, but I know Del Bosque wouldn’t dream of doing it. If anything, he’d maybe like an XI of Busquets’!

2014 FIFA World Cup Group B

We at Outside of the Boot track the progress of youngsters under our Talent Radar feature. A couple of Spanish youngsters will be going to Brazil, none more deservedly than Koke. He even won our Talent Radar Player of the Season 2013-14 award. What role does he play in Del Bosque’s plans? Will he feature for the side

Koke’s one of those that could benefit from the fatigue of Xavi, and others. He could become a mainstay in the team sooner rather than later, something that Xavi has predicted himself in fact. We could see a midfield three of Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Iniesta, then Koke deployed from the left of an advanced three in his interior role. I think that could work wonderfully, and might well be the next step Spain takes as a team. Koke’s progression has been astonishing. People forget in 2011 he was on the verge of being bundled out on loan to Real Mallorca, until Diego Simeone came in.

Do you think the Spanish side has what it takes to go for an unprecedented fourth consecutive major trophy? What would be the bare minimum to label this tournament a success?

Spain has to win, it’s as simple as that. It’s the bare minimum. Expectations are that high and this is the last time this generation will be together. Carles Puyol already isn’t there, others will not be there at the next big tournament.  It’s their last chance, and I believe they can do it. They have what it takes. The replacement players for those not there or not at full fitness, are good enough, and this leads me to believe Spain can do it again. The resources are incredible. Experience too, will be significant. Fatigue is the only battle, but keeping the ball could negate that.

Read all our World Cup Interviews here, and all other WC2014 related content here.

100 to Watch

Latest

Interviews15 hours ago

Interview: Ex-Premier League players on the Problem with Young Footballers

Outside of the Boot had the opportunity to speak with ex-Premier League players – Manchester City’s Paul Dickov, Leicester City’s...

Scout Report15 hours ago

Scout Report: Nicolo Barella | Cagliari’s Complete Midfielder

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report on Cagliari’s promising Italian midfielder, Nicolo Barella In a country that is as passionate...

Opinions15 hours ago

Statiscal Analysis: Which team has the worst injury record in La Liga?

Luke Glassford provides us with a statiscal look at the injuries suffered by various La Liga teams over the past...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Chris Willock | Benfica’s ex-Arsenal youth product

Hrishi Anand takes a look at youngster Chris Willock, whose move away from the Premier League could help blaze a...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Marlos Moreno | Manchester City’s Colombian flash

Josh Sippie takes a look at Colombian international Marlos Moreno, whose Spanish education will make or break his chances at...

Opinions4 days ago

Analysing Kevin De Bruyne: Pep Guardiola’s Total Midfielder

Charles Onwuakpa analyses Kevin De Bruyne, who has quickly developed into Pep Guardiola’s most important player. When we talk about...

Scout Report4 days ago

Scout Report: Josh Sargent | USA’s rising star

Josh Sippie takes a look at USA’s brightest young star on the block, Josh Sargent With the Bundesliga’s new prerogative of...

Scout Report4 days ago

Scout Report: Timothy Weah | The talented encore to George

Josh Sippie analyses one of PSG and USA’s young starlets, Timothy Weah The United States trek towards international relevance is...

Indian Football1 week ago

Traveling Barefoot – The Story of Indian Football

Arinjay Ghosh details the topsy-turvy tale of Indian Football through the years.

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

7 Players to Watch at the U17 World Cup 2017 in India

Brian Hradek highlights seven players who could make an impact at the U17 World Cup 2017 The U17 World Cup...

Series2 weeks ago

Tactical Philosophy: Eddie Howe

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 weeks ago

Tales of a Football Scout: Giulio D’Alessandro

Kaustubh Pandey gets the chance to sit down with Italian football scout and agent, Giulio D’Alessandro Contrary to popular opinion,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Newcastle and the Loyalty Project

Josh Sippie takes a look at Rafa Benitez’s approach and style at Premier League newboys Newcastle United. Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

What direction is football heading in?

Jonathan Roberts looks deeply into the direction football is heading in, using de Boer’s sacking as an example.  It’s easy to...

Specials2 weeks ago

In-depth Analysis: Why Lukaku makes Man United better than Ibrahimovic ever will

Alexiou Konstantinos provides a detailed comparison between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and why the former is an upgrade for...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Monarcas 3-0 Xolos | Monarcas’ Pressing And Xolos’ Offside Trap

Brian Bertie writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Liga MX match that ended Monarcas 3-0 Xolos Monarcas and Xolos...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Donny van de Beek

Danny Lewis takes a look at Ajax’s new midfield anchor, Donny van de Beek. After last season’s European success, the...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Britain’s long fabled fear of the Director of Football

Calum Clark brings to the fore a much debated issue of the footballing fora- Should Directors of Football exist? Hailing...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #6: Anthony Martial & Bruno Xadas feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Guide: Group F

The 17th edition of the U17 World Cup takes place in India, the first FIFA tournament held in the country,...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot