Spain are not soccer’s rigid “Talibans” and can vary their trademark possession football if necessary, coach Vicente del Bosque has said.
Spain begin their bid to retain the trophy on Friday against The Netherlands, their rivals in the final four years ago in South Africa when the Dutch used a physical approach to try and unsettle them. The Netherlands now have a coach in Louis van Gaal who hopes to continue the Dutch traditions of total football but has also admitted that he will look to bolster the defence against Spain with five at the back in the Group B at Salvadore.
“We are not Talibans with just one way of playing,” Del Bosque said. “Possession without having depth doesn’t have any point. For that reason we are working so that the team can pressure to win back possession and then as a group attack.
“… football is played in many different ways and there isn’t just one. We don’t have a magic formula, we have a plan based on the players that we have available. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t others who are just as good and give results.” Del Bosque was prepared in case Spain’s group rivals, that also include Chile and Australia, opt to sit back.
“It’s fine if they do. It suits us best being patient and looking for the gaps against teams that are defensive rather than being in games that are end-to-end and out of control,” he said.
Winners of the last two European Championships, Spain return to Brazil where they lost the Confederations Cup final last year against the home nation, in front of some hostile crowds. “It is true that they whistled us in the stadiums but I think that there is a lot of respect with this as they see us as a dangerous threat,” said Del Bosque.
Australia appear the weakest side in the group but Chile look strong opponents that play quick, attacking football inspired by Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. There is concern though over the fitness of midfielder Arturo Vidal who has a knee injury and is a doubt for the first match against Australia.
“Chile has a clear style of play and we are going to give our all. We will play on the attack which is our way,” forward Jose Fuenzalida told a news conference in Belo Horizonte. We are in good form with players that have been many seasons in Europe, that have played before at a World Cup and know how to help us with the anxiety ahead of the first game.”