Follow The Sportsman on Facebook
Football  /

3 Key Areas Fernando Hierro Needs To Address After Taking Over From Julen Lopetegui As Spain Coach

Is Gerard Pique still up to the task of taking on the world's best?
Is Gerard Pique still up to the task of taking on the world's best?

It seems odd to be Spain’s discussing weaknesses when they’re unbeaten in 20 matches.

But following the dramatic events of Wednesday when Julen Lopetegui was sacked for taking the Real Madrid job and the subsequent appointment of Fernando Hierro, it's worth looking at some areas Spain need to address ahead of the World Cup.


Since Lopetegui took over from Vicente Del Bosque, he didn't lose a single game as coach, so it would appear that he has the right blend and isn’t frightened of making the odd controversial decision or too. Alvaro Morata’s omission is a case in point.

However, for all of their verve and swashbuckling style, there are key areas where Spain can be exposed by the right opponent.

Let’s take a look at what they are:

No pace in central defence

Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique are arguably one of the finest defensive pairings in world football, and in Russia.

Both are colossal for their clubs on a weekly basis and have always raised the bar for the national team too. They are the rocks on which much of their recent success has been built.

Adept at bringing the ball out from the back with decent distribution, and a threat aerially when needed, Pique and Ramos are nevertheless a little static at times.

Opponents will find they’ll derive success from playing balls in behind as long as their attackers are playing on the shoulders of the last defender.

Spain simply can’t afford to be without either player but a ‘professional foul’ may be the only way of curtailing an attack.

Certainly, pace in behind is the only real chance opponents have of ruffling Ramos and Pique’s feathers.

Lack of bite in midfield

Sergio Busquets does an excellent job in Spain’s midfield and will put his foot in when needed.

If La Roja need someone to do their dirty work, they invariably turn to the Barcelona maestro.

A bout of gastroenteritis notwithstanding, Busquets will shore up the midfield again in Russia, but he could do with another player alongside with similar attributes.

Spain play some of the most beautiful football seen in this generation, but don’t have enough muscle in the middle of the park.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you; For every great footballing team, you still need a couple of hard men.

Koke can assist but his presence then means one of either Isco, Iniesta or Silva don’t play, assuming a 4-4-2 formation. (And not forgetting Saul Niguez - who won’t have travelled to Russia just to admire the view!)

Pace or power up front?

Goals win games and Spain are more than capable of feasting themselves, however, it still appears that minds are not yet made up on whether to go for pace or power. That’s criminal at this late stage.

Diego Costa has plenty of the latter, whilst Iago Aspas and Rodrigo are quicker off the mark than their team-mate.

Subbing one for the other will mean a change of style and team dynamic, and Spain don’t need to be worrying about those details at this stage.

Register with The Sportsman to personalise your news feed with your favourite sports and team.
Latest Football Articles
Bet Slip
Log In
Quick Deposit
Deposit Funds
Change Payment Method
Bet Placed
Retain Selections
Clear Slip
Bet Slip 0
| Join Now
Balance: £0.00
Log Out
The line, odds or availability of your selections has changed.
Remove All
Click a price to add a selection
To view multiples
Multiple options are restricted for the highlighted selections
The line, odds or availability of your selections has changed.
Accept Changes
Total Stake:
£ 0.00

Estimated Returns:
£ 0.00
£ Place Bet
Bet on Bet365 website
New To Bet365?
Bets are accepted in accordance with the operator's rules
and terms and conditions. Hillside (UK Sports) LP is licensed
and regulated by the British Gambling Commissioner
(Licence number 39563). Registered Office Hillside (UK Sports) LP
(registration number 117), Unit 1.1, First Floor, Waterport Place,
2 Europort Avenue, Gibraltar.
BET365 ACCOUNT? New Customer Offer
The Sportsman is an officially endorsed bet365 betting partner. All bets are placed securely via our API link-up with bet365 and no data or transactional information is sahred with or accessible by the sportsman.com. Bets are accepted in accordance with the operator's Rules and Terms and Conditions.