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Antonio Sanz Wednesdays: Olympic Spain and False 9 football

The tactic of a team acting without a center forward would be hardly conceivable for those English who invented this game.. However, today, also in the British Isles, some games are observed without that reference ‘tank’ that was used in many cases to win the aerial ball and to hold and give way to teammates when the risk was pressing behind. In the early days of football, the forwards dominated with five attackers, reviewing cheerful markers. Later, the concept of not conceding goals began to reign in the atmosphere and ended in a lead of three. Then the tactical wealth led us to 1-4-4-2, to predominate today the unitary goal scorer line converted into a trio of ‘midfielders’ avoiding the center forward, who ends up being taken advantage of in the final stages of the match. And this is the recurring tactical drawing of Spain that has been presented in Japan to fight for an Olympic medal.

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Luis de la Fuente has appeared at the Tokyo Games without surprising anyone. The historic Athletic defender joined the coaching staff of the Spanish Federation in 2013. Since then he has won three titles: European Under-19 Champion in 2015, Gold Medal at the 2018 Mediterranean Games and European Under-19 Champion. 21 in 2019. After recently making his interim debut as senior coach, the icing on the cake is forged in Japan. And there, the Riojan coach has landed subscribing to that idea of ​​acting without a center forward, just as the pass to the final was played in the recent European Under-21 held in Slovenia. However, it is also fair to remember the same movement two years earlier and that it ended with different fate. Gambling everything against Poland, de la Fuente dispensed with Borja Mayoral and placed Oyarzábal as a reference attacker. That day Spain thrashed (5-0) to end up lifting the trophy.

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The old chronicles say that Mario Zagallo’s Brazil of 70 was the first team to play with a false ‘9’, term that was coined in this new century and that today lives with great relevance. The ancient texts explain the wonderful accumulation of ‘tens’ (figure currently in decline) that the selection of players presented. The Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostao, Pele and Rivelino poisoned with lust the lovers of the new football that was born under the premise that the leather rulara and suffered association. That team didn’t need a battering ram because they enjoyed the luxurious handling of the ball. The beauty of that game was replicated a few years later from Europe with Ajax and the Netherlands team, led by Johan Cruyff, and dubbed ‘the clockwork orange’. That tall and skinny player turned out to be the first recognized false ‘9’ who, in addition, also knew how to behave as a false ’10’. Unlike the Brazilians, that wonderful Netherlands lost two world championship finals consecutively… curiously to the two hosts.

Brazil in 1970, with Pelé at the helm

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Several years later, Guardiola regained the concept of hitting a battering ram in the 2011 Intercontinental Club Final. With David Villa and Alexis injured, Pep paid the eleven to play, play and play again against Santos de Pelé and Neymar that night. The symphonic noise was led by Messi with five soloists accompanying his music: Alves, Xavi, Thiago, Iniesta and Fábregas. The Brazilian touch could not be lacking in the score, as well as the memory of the Spain of the short ones that Aragonés gave birth to and inherited from Del Bosque. Guardiola repeated the idea of ​​acting without reference on another peak day, but it was not satisfactory. It resulted in the last Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea. He wanted the ball and had it, but that day the light did not shine among his chosen ones to dominate and end up making a hole in the net.

It is a constant in modern football to act without a center forward. Spain has managed the success with Del Bosque: Euro 2012 Although, as everything is debatable, David Villa, absent due to injury in that title and top scorer in the history of our football, recently recalled in Movistar Plus the triumph in the World Cup ’10. In that reflection he pointed out that “my goals on the field always resulted with Torres’ company.” But That final in Kiev, the coach, who won in South Africa, left Torres on the bench, who came out to score and pass a goal, to bet on Fabregas as a false ‘9’ … to end up winning 4-0. That day, Vicente showed that both formulas worked. Like Luis Enrique, who decided to play the pass to the last game in London against Italy with Oyarzábal as a reference, dispensing with Morata, who came out to tie in a game that would be lost on penalties.

Italy-Spain summary: maximum penalty

It doesn’t look like De la Fuente is going to change the roadmap. The entry of Rafa Mir has caused more shots and more harassment to the opponent’s goal. But the Riojan coach has not shown signs of change because he has rotated, but without modifying the system. He understands that the team has worked and evolved in a satisfactory way, although, against Argentina we are at stake for the leadership and the classification. So things, the invention of the false ‘9’ is left to the choice of each ‘teacher’ with the application of their ‘booklet’. What seems evident is that the Spanish Olympic will fight for the medal with this formula.

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