Despite the cruel goodbye, the tournament propels the team, the fifth-youngest, for the future. The union of the dressing room and the leadership of the coach, keys.

The Spanish players lament after the defeat.REUTERS

Few counted on defeat, why be deceived. Having overcome the obstacle of Croatia in the second round, and having suffered unspeakably against Switzerland, in the Spanish expedition in London there was the feeling that the flight achieved in Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg would land in the capital of the United Kingdom for, at least, play the final. Even knowing the potential of Italy, in the bubble of the team there is no other reality than victory. It was not like that, and the elimination against the Italians hurts, of course, but when the hours calm the disappointment, a European Championship will emerge with a tremendously positive balance for Spain. It is not a question of ignoring that it was suffered against rivals with less individual quality, but the general balance is that this group has the capacity to improve in the coming years. In the same way that the falls in Brazil 2014, in France 2016 and in Russia 2018 did not leave a clear path ahead, the one this Tuesday at Wembley has the roadmap marked. With all the nuances you want, with all the aspects to improve, the direction of this selection is clear.

To begin with, because Spain has played in this Eurocup with the fifth youngest team in the tournament, second only to Turkey, England, Wales and Ukraine. Tuning the microscope on the data, only England counts for this rankingwhile the other three do not belong to the nobility of European football. The players cited by Luis Enrique They have an average of 26.5 years, that is, that average will be in fullness within a year and a half (Qatar World Cup) and will still have a very good tone in 2024 (German European Championship).

Of those present, only one intuits, by age, an end close to Busquets, although the football seen denies in this case the date of birth. The rest are players with a medium or, in many cases, a long journey. People like Ferran Torres (21), Dani Olmo (23), Pedri (18), Pau Torres (24), to name a few with a lot of prominence in this European Championship, are the skeleton of a group that remains united.

August, 31

Even the middle class that this selection supposes, without big stars as a decade ago, is a good age to stay. Azpilicueta (30), Boil (29), Morata (28) and some others can go ahead, that is because they do not have irruptions like Sarabia (29) that has come to stay. It is, in short, a group that has also formed a family, as they like to say in there, with which they have recovered something that had been lost for many years in Las Rozas. The footballers arrive with enthusiasm and enthusiasm at the concentrations. The most immediate will begin next August 31. The previous week, Luis Enrique gave the list of summoned for the next matches of this group, which surely will no longer go unnoticed by the general public. There will be three, corresponding to the qualification phase for the Qatar World Cup in 2022. On September 2 against Sweden as a visitor, on the 5th receiving Georgia and on the 8th traveling to Kosovo.

In front, of course, be the same coach, something that has not been usual in recent appointments. ForestAfter the defeat of the World Cup in Brazil, I chose to continue and begin a renovation that never finished. After the European Championship in France, he was replaced by Julen Lopetegui, to which Rubiales said goodbye at the gates of the first match in the World Cup in Russia. Shortly after the painful expulsion by the hostess, Luis Enrique arrived. And today it is obvious that there are no doubts in any establishment regarding its continuity. He has a contract until the World Cup in Qatar, but both parties are delighted to have met and will surely go beyond that date.

“I feel very supported”

Because, apart from some criticism deliberately agreed by sectors close to Real Madrid, it does not seem difficult to conclude that the work of the Asturian coach is crystallizing. “I feel very supported and it is a pleasure to represent my country as a coach,” said Luis Enrique in the run-up to the clash against Italy.

The revolution that Lopetegui started more timidly is over, now. He has built a different team, more vertical, more ambitious, which may be weighed down by its lack of extreme quality at times, but which has a very clear plan and is capable of putting it into motion against any rival. “I want players to fly, I said it when I arrived and I already tell you what I am going to continue looking for from now on,” said the coach. The way is clear.

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