European Football Championship: Spectacle in Spain loosens mouths

European Football Championship: Spectacle in Spain loosens mouths
European Football Championship: Spectacle in Spain loosens mouths

Spain is considered the strongest team in the tournament so far. Leipzig’s Olmo sees the pressure ahead of the quarter-final clash with the DFB team. Playmaker Pedri complains about a German defender.

For Spain, it is a partidazo – the highest possible level of a football match. A super game. When the Furia Roja meets Germany in the European Championship quarter-finals on Friday (6 p.m./ARD and MagentaTV) in Stuttgart, this should be just one stop on the way to their first tournament title since 2012. The Spaniards are brimming with confidence after their four victories so far. And are happy to play back one or two provocations.

Dani Olmo, the RB Leipzig striker, sees the DFB selection under more pressure. “A win at home is almost a must for them.” Coach Luis de la Fuente repeatedly stressed that they “keep both feet on the ground.” But the enthusiasm for the game and the dominance with which his team has performed in the tournament so far has also loosened the mouths of his professionals.

Pedri complains about Rüdiger’s “pinching”

Before the duel between the two three-time European champions, playmaker Pedri complained about bad experiences with defender Antonio Rüdiger. “He is a powerful central defender and very good, but you don’t have to be afraid of him,” said the 21-year-old from FC Barcelona on Radio Marca. “His pinching seems to me to be a lack of respect because it hurts and is annoying.”

Former Bundesliga striker Joselu, born in Stuttgart, has already announced that the Spanish team will end the career of his former Real colleague Toni Kroos: “I think Friday will be Toni’s last game.” Young star Lamine Yamal said: “I don’t see any team better than ours.”

Kroos, Real’s long-standing player Luka Modric, England’s Jude Bellingham and his future Madrid colleague Kylian Mbappé were the biggest headlines on Spanish sports portals at the start of the European Championship. The national team has now moved up in the spotlight even more than the daily transfer noise from Real and FC Barcelona.

Selección with speed football

The 2010 world champions are expected to achieve great things again with a Selección that has said goodbye to the increasingly unprofitable Tiki-Taka and shines with speed football. The dismal World Cup performances – elimination in the preliminary round in 2014, elimination in the round of 16 in 2018 and 2022 – should finally be a thing of the past in Germany. The 2021 European Championship semi-finalist impresses with a mixture of experienced players and top talents.

Will Yamal, who is only 16 years old, and his congenial wing partner Nico Williams (21) shake up the DFB defense and do a little dance of joy after the final whistle? Will Rodri, who his club coach Pep Guardiola from Manchester City calls the “best midfielder in the world”, and the previously so strong Fabián Ruiz significantly disrupt the circles of Kroos and Ilkay Gündogan? Will the ex-Leverkusen player Daniel Carvajal and Marc Cucurella – the one with the wild curly mane – have everything under control as full-backs?

“Spain plays faster – and with a higher rhythm than Germany. I am absolutely convinced that we will advance,” said former world and European champion coach Vicente del Bosque (73) in an interview with “Sport Bild”. “After 36 years, it is time for us to beat Spain again in a tournament,” said German record international player Lothar Matthäus.

Lehmann’s statements cause a stir

Such statements are widely spread in the opponent’s country. Jens Lehmann’s comments caused a lot of excitement in the Spanish media. “In terms of quality, they are actually perhaps a little better than us. But they are too small and they are very inexperienced,” said the former national goalkeeper in an interview with Welt-TV. And: “This is actually a youth team in part because they have two extremely young strikers up front.”

Striker Mikel Oyarzabal commented with a shrug: “One more opinion.” Playmaker Pedri pointed out that smaller players have already won a lot at FC Barcelona. In any case, doubts are not being expressed in the quarter-finals of Germany’s opponents in Donaueschingen. “I am convinced that they are not so happy to be playing us now,” said Rodri after reaching the quarter-finals.

For la Fuente, who won the final of the U21 European Championship in 2019 with the Spanish youth team led by Olmo, one thing is clear: “We are up against a footballing power.” He speaks of the “German machine,” but also said: “We have our tools and our strengths and we are confident in our cause.”

Source: Stern

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