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Euro 2020 – Inside Europe: Spain fans worry as Luis Enrique persists with Alvaro Morata over Gerard Moreno


Spain head into the European Championship seeking to win their first trophy since 2012. Since sweeping to three tournaments in a row – Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 – La Roja have bowed out before the quarter-finals at every tournament since.

Luis Enrique’s side have a favourable draw at Euro 2020 alongside Sweden, Poland and Slovakia in Group E, but all is not particularly rosy in the camp. Not only did Enrique cause a stir by leaving Sergio Ramos out his 26-man squad, but they were booed off after a goalless draw with Portugal in a warm-up match on Friday night.

So what can we expect from Spain at the country-hopping extravaganza? Over to Agustin Galan of Eurosport Spain fame…

Euro 2020

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25/05/2021 AT 07:34

Why were Spain booed off? A 0-0 draw against Portugal does not seem a bad result?

We were so focused on the joy of seeing the fans come back to the stadium in Spain that we almost forgot that our supporters are some of the most demanding in the world. The lack of sharpness in front of goal has always been their traditional Achilles heel and that is something that the fans do not want to see in this Euros again, especially after the painful defeat against Russia during the last World Cup.

Those boos have nothing to do with the Portuguese quality. Everyone in Spain is aware of their talent – maybe we were a little bit surprised by Pepe’s outstanding performance at 38 – but they simply want their national team to excel in every single match without taking into account the opponent.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Spain – Portugal

Image credit: Getty Images

Much of the frustration was aimed at Morata. Is he good enough to be leading the line?

We should not forget that this match was played at Wanda Metropolitano, home of Atletico Madrid, where Alvaro Morata did not have the best relationship with the fans (although he tried).

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Even if he came back with La Roja instead of in a Juventus shirt, his popularity is not as high as he or Luis Enrique would want it to be among the Spanish fans, so most of the criticism was inevitably aimed at him.

Should Moreno start the Euros?

If we compare Morata’s recent form at Juventus with Gerard Moreno’s performances at Villarreal, the choice should be simple and logical. Nevertheless, Enrique is well-known for his willingness to swim against the tide and he decided to play Morata as his starting striker.

We cannot say if it was a deliberate test to push Morata to show his true character or if it was just a challenge to the fans, that is something that only Enrique could say.

How good is this Spain side? What are the expectations?

Spain will play in the Euros with a squad full of quality, but there are some doubts about their experience. Unai Simon has not played in a big tournament like this, the defensive line did not have time to develop a proper chemistry and the strikers frequently struggle to unlock the scoreboard.

Their recent record in World Cups and Euros do not allow the fans to dream big, but the group stage does not seem too difficult and anything can happen after that. Anyway, if Spain gets eliminated in the quarter-finals, the criticism towards Enrique will be unavoidable.

Euro 2020

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