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Spain struggles in front of goal concern coach

By Reuters - Jun 09,2016 - Last updated at Jun 09,2016

MADRID — Spain are among the favourites to win the European Championship this summer but the team’s 1-0 home defeat to Georgia on Tuesday has set alarm bells ringing.

In their last warm-up game before the tournament and nearly two years on from their first-round exit at the World Cup in Brazil, Spain lost to a team ranked No. 137 by FIFA.

“Gatillazo” (Damp squib) was the headline in Wednesday’s AS newspaper after the team’s loss in Getafe.

“We were looking to gain more confidence and generate a good atmosphere all around with this game but it has been the contrary, a disappointment,” Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told Marca of Spain’s first defeat since March 2015.

So what went wrong?

“We didn’t play badly,” he said. “We simply couldn’t overcome an organised defence.

“We lacked solutions and that is the most worrying aspect.”

Spain had 76 per cent of possession against their opponents and took 17 shots on goal but had only three on target.

Georgia, who had just four shots on goal in the match, made the most of a Jordi Alba mistake in midfield to score.

“You can give away a goal but the fact that we haven’t scored is a big disappointment,” Del Bosque said.

Lack of goals was not a problem for Spain in their previous two friendlies — a 3-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina and a 6-1 rout of South Korea.

The team just had a bad night in front of goal, according to the coach.

“This [defeat] doesn’t change anything,” Del Bosque said. “It doesn’t take away the good work we have done so far.

“I don’t want to be a pessimist.”

Marca expressed its concern, writing in Wednesday’s headline: “With six days to go before the Euro 2016 debut, Spain fall 1-0 to Georgia, ranked 137th in the world.”

The publication filled its front page with “We cannot have lapses of concentration”, repeating it over and over as if a schoolboy had been punished and told to write it on blackboard.

El Mundo Deportivo’s headline was “Serious warning before the Euro”.

Winners of the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 as well as the 2010 World champions, Spain begin their title defence against the Czech Republic on June 13 in Toulouse.

Spain also take on Turkey and Croatia in Group D.

“We cannot go to the tournament with any doubts and we must go without any fear,” Del Bosque added.

Manchester United keeper David de Gea is still waiting to gear if he will be in goal for Spain at their opener.

De Gea played in the teams home loss to Georgia, Spain’s final warm-up, but Porto’s Iker Casillas had been the country’s first-choice goalkeeper since 2002 and played in the previous friendly, a 6-1 rout of South Korea.


Asked about which player coach Vicente del Bosque would pick for Monday’s match in Toulouse, De Gea told AS newspaper: “I don’t know. We will have to wait until Monday to see what the decision is.

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