"Mbappé was offside, but the referee said Eric was playing the ball and that the offside was cleared. They don't explain that to us, you have to want to play the ball and Eric just wants to cut, he doesn't fail to control it". These are the words of Busquets after the Nations League final between Spain and France in Milan.
Mbappé was offside. Eric Garcia dives to cut out the ball and that enables the striker. But he dives because he wants to prevent the Frenchman from controlling. If he didn't dive, it would have been offside. From the 82nd minute Spain were up in arms against the French because in the PSG striker's goal it was clear without the need for lines that he was further forward than Eric García. The VAR reviewed the goal that everyone expected to be disallowed given the evidence. It was a goal. The 1-2 that culminated the comeback was the result of a confusing rule that had not happened before in a match at this level. One case among hundreds. That point of bad luck that decided a match in which Spain competed at a high level.
Back to football. Luis Enrique's time with Spain has expired. Reaching the World Cup in Qatar 2022 is already a challenge. Playing in it and not winning it is a catastrophe. That is the yardstick for this national coach who does not have many friends in the press or among the fans. The noise surrounding Spain is deafening. The RFEF is not doing much to lower the tone either. It is a constant confrontation between sides. Those of Real Madrid, those of Barça, those of Tebas, those of Rubiales, those of Mbappé...
Back to football, again. Luis Enrique's national team is an author's selection. The Asturian has created a team with players chosen to suit his way of understanding football. In his time as coach, he did not have hundreds of players available and was content with a squad of 25. Now he discards veterans, even if they are eligible for selection based on performance. He calls on youngsters with barely half an hour in the first team. He revolutionises the goalkeeping with unknown names. There are all kinds of criticisms of his call-ups, but always criticisms. That if they are more manageable, that if he took advantage of it to clean out Ramos, that if they are represented by his friends, that if it's a pulse on the press, that if he wants to form the Spain of Qatar... It's his team and it will be like that until the day he packs his bags.
Back to football. If it is possible. Spain lost the Nations League final to France. That tournament is the best thing UEFA has done in many years. A system similar to Florentino Perez's Super League. The football of the best and then divided into categories so that they don't have to be seen to be making money thanks to the format of showing off good games and hiding San Marino from these shindigs.
The football? Spain's was very good in many moments. By dint of calling so many anonymous players, some of them are good. Yeremi or Gavi have been the sensation. Nobody remembers Pedri and Sergi Roberto is bordering on shameless. Eric García is beginning to carry the black legend of Spain. Iñigo Martínez is the bar against which those who do have a reason to go are measured and lamented. In goal there is no security even if the three goalkeepers play together. Spain is not malfunctioning because the cog in the wheel of these pieces is Luis Enrique.
Spain took the lead with a goal from Oyarzábal. And they could have equalised at the end. France wasn't the team that won World Cups and European Championships because Deschamps has made them worse with his lazy football. But they have a goal. Benzema put in the goalscoring magic of recent seasons at Real Madrid. A shot to the long post that found Simon in front of him. It was noticeable in the final dive to touch the ball. But it ended up in the top corner.
Spain lost the final. Another stick like Italy's in the penalty shoot-out at Euro 2020. That makes two. Two sticks and a lot to learn. Luis Enrique will take the criticism well because now he goes into the cave of Las Rozas until next month and it doesn't look like the World Cup is in danger, although the worst is yet to come with Greece and Sweden. Spain is doing well, although without boasting, as Luis would say.