He finished the Eurocup at the top and starts the Olympics low. Pedri was missing in the first game against Egypt, without spark, lacking leadership and the worst thing is that he did not show rebellion. He is one of those indicated in the tie of a selection that is the favorite, according to the bets and specialized journalism, to conquer the gold. Pedri isn’t the only one who made a disappointing debut. There are more, like Marco Asensio, Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo. But with Pedri there is great expectation and everyone, including the coach Luis de la Fuente, is hoping that he will continue the performance shown in the Eurocup.
This Olympic Spain, as happened to Luis Enrique’s in the Euro, does not have a leader. It was also noted in the lack of character against Egypt. The Africans were physically superior and it was enough to lock themselves up and wax to minimize the Spanish talent. But that leadership on the field is expected to flow with Pedri’s quality and self-confidence.
The canary arrives at the Games elevated by Luis Enrique. The senior coach decided to squeeze him and Pedri responded with an extraordinary physical display and impressive self-confidence. If against such demanding teams as Croatia, Switzerland and Italy in the Euro he was capable of being the best, at the Games he was going to be a plane. We think so. It is still on time. Against Egypt he did not find his place in a midfield with Mikel Merino and Ceballos. The Madridista, up to the ankle injury (he suffers a sprain) that prevented him from playing the first half, was the most incisive and the most inspired. Pedri took so long to get into the game. He seemed to be out for a walk.
The pressure of Luis Enrique
He accused the lack of spaces that Egypt left, but that’s what he wants Luis de la Fuente. You have to find the aisles to go deep and unbalance with vertical actions. He hardly tried and this is where Spain’s problems began in the Olympic debut. Pedri has to plug into the Games and against Egypt he was off. The reason is not physical. He is an 18-year-old boy, he arrives rolled, he has had time to recover from the effort of the European Championship and the coach gives him all his confidence. Pedri is untouchable, but we did not see his best version. He has to give more battle and assume that in the Olympic team he has to raise his physical and motivational level. If not, it will not have been worth the effort to wear it and Barcelona will be right when he asked not to go to these Games due to the accumulated wear and tear.
One of those responsible for Spain being competitive, practicing fluid football and finding solutions against rivals who lock themselves in like Egypt is Pedri. The pressure is on him. From the moment he was chosen the best young player of the Eurocup and entered the ideal eleven of the tournament. But that pressure was also put by Luis Enrique with the words of praise that he dedicated to the canary after being eliminated against Italy in the semifinals. “Has anyone noticed the Euro made by an 18-year-old boy named Pedri? Neither don Andrés Iniesta has done it. What about Pedri in this European Championship I have not seen anyone at the age of 18 in this European Championship, World Cup or Olympic Games. It is something out of all logic. Delighted that many more are getting on Pedri’s bandwagon, ”said the senior coach.
The energetic Luis Enrique, who is very supportive of his decisions, wanted to get a medal with Pedri’s bet. For having made him play all the games. He was somewhat exaggerated in the praise. It was a mistake to elevate Pedri and put him at the level of Iniesta. Was not necessary to. The canary has a good head, he is humble, but there he remained as the player who has to carry the burden of making Spain win gold in the Games. And Pedri, despite his illusion to be in the Olympic event, also has his limitations. He is a player of the present and the future, but he has a lot to learn and demonstrate to be the best. Any other coach less exaggerated than Luis Enrique would have said that you have to go calmly and meet the deadlines of a boy who is still in the process of training and learning.
A thick game
Not all the blame for the bad game against Egypt has to fall on Pedri because Spain started with six players in the eleven who had been in the Eurocup: Unai Simón, Eric García, Pau Torres, Pedri, Dani Olmo and Oyarzabal. Luis de la Fuente put half a team that had been rolled, with expert, unbalancing and motivated players. Nothing worked from the center of the field to the front. Unai and the centrals Pau and Eric were not demanded by the Egyptians’ renouncement to attack. Dani Olmo and Oyarzabal were thick, soft and harmless. Without spark, or ideas and without giving him the rhythm that the offensive game needed to bring down the wall of Egypt.
The same can be said of Marco Asensio. The Madridista is another of those who has to take a step forward in the Olympic Games and his football was apathetic. It gave more freshness and imbalance the entrance of Bryan Gil in the final stretch of the second half when Spain desperately sought the goal. Asensio cannot miss this type of opportunity that serves to know if he really is a player who has peaked or can make exhibitions like those he had in his first two seasons at Real Madrid. The serious knee injury is more than overcome and he admits it. What really happens to him? It’s a mystery. He is a boy who has a facility for scoring goals, but is lacking in continuity and aggressiveness.
Luis de la Fuente is not only required to win this team but also to have fun and against Egypt it was boring. He started without a center forward, with Oyarzabal on a false nine, and was not able to finish the plays. We return to the debate of the possession and control of the parties. As happened with Luis Enrique in the Eurocup with the first two setbacks in the group stage, the draws against Sweden and Poland. Again the problem of the goal and the problem of long possessions. With the great team that Spain has, we must ask it to be more forceful, decisive and have players who exercise leadership. Pedri is one of those who cannot disappoint.