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Will too many of the same player be Spain’s downfall at the World Cup?

Spain possess some of the most elite midfielders in world football, but will Julen Lopetegui be able to fit them all into his team without disturbing the balance?

Demasiados cocineros arruinan el caldo.

Three points if you were able to decipher the Spanish I most probably just butchered thanks to Google Translate.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and there’s chefs getting busy everywhere you look as far as Spain’s World Cup squad is concerned.


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Does that count as an Ashley Cole from Gerard Pique?

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Does that count as an Ashley Cole from Gerard Pique?

This might just be English envy talking, but if Spain have one weakness, it’s their strength.

Which takes me back to the wealth of cooks available to Spain boss Julen Lopetegui (apologies, that’s the last of the food references).

Watching Spain’s pre-tournament friendly against Switzerland, it was intriguing to see the side Lopetegui started with, especially in the midfield.

Pure greed

Getty Images - Getty
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Pure greed

Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta and David Silva started, with the latter spending most of the time in a wide left position.

Silva moved from the central position he’s been operating in with Man City this season to a wide left role, with Koke covering right-back Alvaro Odiozola every time he went forward.

Thiago and Iniesta were given license to roam, with Spain unsurprisingly dominating possession.

This is no time for sitting football

Getty - Contributor
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This is no time for sitting football

Throw Sergio Busquets, Isco and Saul Niguez into the mix and it all starts looking a bit central heavy.

Spain lack players who can stretch the game.

Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez aside, Spain’s midfielders want to come towards the ball and dictate play.

They can pass you to death but they can also be passive.

EPA
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Compare Spain’s midfield options to the other World Cup favourites.

Germany have a lovely balance of guile and graft in Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, with Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Julian Draxler on hand to provide the width.

France have passers in Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso and Steven Nzonzi combined with the runners of N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi.

Tite relies on Paulinho, Casemiro and Renato Augusto to balance out the side and allow his attacking trio of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho to flourish, although the latter could drop into a deeper role.

Paulinho’s water carrier

Getty - Contributor
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Paulinho’s water carrier

For Spain to be at their best Lopetegui will have to be brave and bench some players that would lead most of the other 31 teams in the tournament.

But don’t feel too sorry for him.

There’s worse problems to have.


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