Former FC Barcelona left-winger Luis Garcia Sanz feels that Spain’s elimination from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia did not signify the death knell for possession-based football, although he stressed the need to have a Plan B.
“Spain’s participation was nothing to write home about,” he said of Spain’s loss on penalties to hosts Russia in the round of 16.
Spain pummelled Argentina 6-1 in an international friendly four months ago, but Garcia said that result was “deceiving”.
“In March, you saw a team that controlled every situation, but Argentina left space open and Spain did well. Here we realized that result was deceiving,” he told EFE on Wednesday in an event organised by FIFA.
“We blindly thought we were going to win easily by always having the ball and with our quality up front, but the other teams also know how to play. Iran, Morocco and Russia are difficult teams,” he noted.
The Spanish side was “handcuffed in every match” because the other “teams lock down defensively and it’s tough to play; it’s a shame. We won (the 2010 World Cup in South Africa), but it’s not easy,” Garcia, who represented Spain from 2005 to 2008, said.
The 40-year-old, who has also represented Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, added that the last-minute decision to name then-director of soccer Fernando Hierro as Spain’s interim head coach (in place of Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked after negotiating a deal to coach Real Madrid) was not a factor is Spain’s upset loss.
“We knew Hierro, and he’s been with the team for a long time, and when the referee blows the whistle you put these situations behind you,” Garcia said.