Three things Spain must do to win UEFA Euro 2024

Spain have the opportunity to become the first team to win the European Championship for a record fourth time this weekend.

Spain have been the most dominant team at UEFA Euro 2024. Not many expected La Roja to come this far in the tournament. But they have surprised everyone by becoming the first team to reach the final by winning all six of their matches.

Luis de la Fuente’s men started their campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Croatia and followed it up with two 1-0 wins against Italy and Albania to top their group. In the round of 16, the three-time Euro winners smashed Georgia 4-1 before taking down hosts Germany in the quarter-finals.

The game against Die Mannschaft was the most difficult assignment for Luis de la Fuente’s team, but they managed to get past it thanks to a late winner by Mikel Merino. In the semi-final, they squared up against France, a team full of champions. La Roja conceded early but they managed to bounce back after being a goal behind and ended up winning 2-1 without much trouble.

Given the kind of teams they have defeated, the manner in which they have done it and how comfortable they have been playing this free-flowing style under de la Fuente, England will find it very difficult to stop Spain in the all-important final. Before we focus on the opposition, let’s have a look at three things that Spain needs to do to lift their fourth European Championship title on Sunday.

Start with Nacho in the heart of the defence

Robin Le Normand is Spain’s first-choice centre-back partner for Aymeric Laporte. But he was replaced in the second half of the quarter-finals against Germany by Nacho Fernandez. With Le Normand on a yellow, Luis de la Fuente did not want him to risk him getting sent off.

Nacho played 74 minutes in that fixture as the game was decided in extra time. Le Normand was suspended for the semi-final, and the former Real Madrid skipper did an exceptional job against a high-quality French attack as they booked their place in the final.

With Le Normand back available, the general idea is that the 27-year-old will walk back into the starting eleven. While he has a bit more of a physical presence and seems to be the better option between the two, de la Fuente should go ahead with Nacho just because of the amount of experience he has playing in big-pressure situations.

The 34-year-old has won six Champions League titles with Real Madrid, and he is well aware of what these big games bring and his experience could come in handy. He had an exceptional 2023/24 season at club level and has hardly done anything wrong at the Euros so far.

Nacho will feature as the right-sided centre-back and he will have the support of Dani Carvajal who should start as the right-back, given the amount of matches they have played together, their partnership could help shut down the English wide players.

Stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation for the final

Luis de la Fuente’s team started the campaign with the 4-3-3 formation, and it was quite effective for them in the group stage as well as the formation in the round of 16 tie. But an injury to Pedri in the quarter-finals resulted in a tactical switch to 4-2-3-1.

In the 4-3-3, Rodri was the holding midfielder with Fabian Ruiz and Pedri. Both Ruiz and Pedri had the license to go forward and things were working out quite well for La Roja. However, now it seems the injury to the Barcelona star has actually made them a more threatening team going forward.

The switch to the 4-2-3-1 has allowed Rodri to have some support from Ruiz as they form the double pivot in the centre of the park. Pedri’s place has been taken up by Dani Olmo, who is now playing as a number 10. He has found the back of the net in each of their knockout game, and his inclusion has made them more attacking in nature.

England might not have been at their best so far in this tournament. But they do tend to dominate the ball against most opponents and given the kind of quality they have and their tactical flexibility, Spain do need to protect their backline. A double pivot gives them a stronger base and with Nico Williams, Lamine Yamal and Olmo in the team, La Roja could be unstoppable on the break.

Dani Olmo should continue as the No.10

Olmo had a cameo in the round of 16 against Georgia. He was on the pitch for just 34 minutes and ended up finding the back of the net. Early on in the quarter-finals, Pedri picked up an injury and in came Omlo to take his place, and he managed to contribute towards both their goals as they knocked out the hosts.

He started the semi-final against France and once again found the back of the net as La Roja took down one of the most dominant teams in recent history. Having scored three goals, Olmo now has the chance to win the Golden Boot at Euro 2024 if manages to score in the final.

Olmo’s inclusion has changed a lot of things apart from the tactical shape. It makes Spain more fluid on the break as the in-demand RB Leipzig star is capable enough to drift out wide, stay central or even drop deep to pick up the ball and set Nico Williams or Yamal free with the help of a long ball.

His late runs into the box have caused a lot of problems for the opposition, and England will also find it difficult to deal with the 26-year-old who can have an impact on the game in multiple ways. With skipper Morata looking to hold up play in the final third and distribute the ball to those around him, Olmo’s ability to make a late run could be very difficult for England to deal with.

Olmo has two assists along with his three goals. While England will look to stop him from scoring, they will also have to ensure he doesn’t end up linking with the likes of Williams and Yamal because they could cause quite a few problems for them.

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