In Brazil,Del Bosque’s Spain take another step in evolution

Vicente del Bosque must fine-tune Spain’s well-oiled winning machine to keep them fresh to defend their world title next year

Written by Reuters | Madrid | Published: June 8, 2013 1:40:22 am

Vicente del Bosque must fine-tune Spain’s well-oiled winning machine to keep them fresh to defend their world title next year but without losing out on the one trophy that eludes them — the Confederations Cup.

Spain won an unprecedented treble of back-to-back European crowns either side of the 2010 World Cup and as FIFA’s top ranked team have probably been analysed more than any other side.

The only blemish on their recent record was a shock 2-0 defeat by United States in the semi-finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.

Maintaining their winning momentum,blending in new players with some tactical variations and perhaps most importantly,recovering the morale of a core group of players,will be a test for one of the game’s most adept man-managers.

“We know that in football every one or two years things change and it is difficult to maintain this authority we have kept going since 2008,” Del Bosque said in an interview with Diario de La Roja. “It is our obligation to keep trying.”

Players from Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to form the backbone of the squad,with four and nine representatives respectively,but it has been a long and bruising season for both groups.

Joining up with the avuncular Del Bosque and a relatively settled group of team mates will be like a refuge from the turbulence of their club seasons and demoralising Champions League exits.

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas,Spain’s number one for more than a decade,has not played a competitive match since mid-January when he broke a finger in a match against Valencia. Real’s decision to bring in Diego Lopez and a falling out with coach Jose Mourinho has meant that Casillas has watched from the bench during the season run-in. Del Bosque is likely to stay loyal to his captain,giving Casillas the chance to gain match practice in the warm up games against Haiti and Ireland. Alvaro Arbeloa,Sergio Ramos,Xavi and Sergio Busquets have all been struggling with fitness problems.

Martinez moment

Brazil could be the moment for Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez,24,to step up into the midfield engine room,after a treble-winning season with the German side which included lifting the Champions League. Upfront,Del Bosque has to resolve the problem of who is going to score goals with Valencia’s Roberto Soldado given a chance to impress after scoring 24 times in La Liga last season.

“Centre forwards can go the whole game without touching the ball and score a goal. We need players that participate and see what’s happening in the rest of the game,” Del Bosque added.

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