Spain has outrageously thrashed Costa Rica and has spoken to Germany in the two World Cup matches they have won. The level of the team has been high, coming close to that of Brazil and France, the two best-looking teams of all those seen in Qatar. The group led by Luis Enrique, who already left a great taste in the mouth at the Eurocup, confirms his reappearance in the elite, a mission that was entrusted to the Asturian coach when he grabbed 'la roja' in the summer of 2018.
Spain had just come from perpetrating a calamitous World Cup, with Fernando Hierro as a makeshift technician bailing out the water from the boat that Lopetegui left adrift. Russia knocked out a very sad team in the round of 16, which was fooling around again with old terms that appealed to the dedication of Sergio Ramos over the delicacy of Andrés Iniesta. So much so that in that elimination Hierro had left the man from Albacete on the bench, in a decision cheered by the rancid-smelling media, partly those who today can't stand Luis Enrique.
When the selection escapes from mothballs and detaches itself from those temptations that stink in a closed room, it tends to fly. It happened in the magical period that was from 2008 to 2012 and that aroma of sophisticated perfume is gaining presence in the environment. At least the plot line is good again.
Luis Enrique, despite the fact that his sometimes rude way of being might lead one to think otherwise, has always had a clear vocation for modernization as a coach. He likes to touch everything, make groundbreaking decisions. Not just because he erects a scaffolding to better see the training sessions, or for placing earpieces on his players to give them a buzz in the sessions, not even for taking giant screens to Qatar or for becoming a streamer overnight...
The matter goes much further. At Barça, he knew how to verticalize the team by understanding that with Neymar, Messi and Suárez on top, the transitions from midfield had to be accelerated. He won the treble. He has collectivized this Spain, giving it weight again in the average, assigning Pedri the command post forming a triangle together with two more blaugranas, Gavi and Busquets, a bet that is not at all casual. Is there any team that, in the face of ambushes from the opponent pressing up, takes the ball from behind with more elegance and efficiency than the Spanish? Negative. It is no coincidence that Rodri is playing center back alongside Laporte, in a decision that carries risks but that describes an intrepid coach with an avant-garde instruction manual.
It is not known what Luis Enrique will do when the World Cup ends, whether he will continue to lead or not, but it can already be said that this team smells new, not like the one he inherited.