Spain know they will face a packed defence when they host Slovakia and coach Vicente del Bosque reckons patience is the key – not how many strikers he uses.
Del Bosque’s men will look to overhaul Slovakia at the top of Group C of European Championship qualification on Saturday when they meet in Oviedo, but Spain are wary after losing the return match 2-1 in Zilina last year.
“We are expecting a similar game to the one we had there – a team who keep it tight,” Spain captain Andres Iniesta said on Friday.
“A team who always try to cut out the inside balls, and that accumulates people in the centre of the pitch to disrupt our style of play.”
Away to Slovakia, Del Bosque picked Diego Costa as the lone striker, while in other qualifiers he has selected two up front from the likes of the Brazil-born centre forward, Valencia’s Paco Alcacer and new Chelsea signing Pedro.
But when asked on Friday whether picking two strikers could help break down Slovakia, Del Bosque seemed unconvinced.
“It’s true, we are expecting a team who will play with six men always behind the ball, which will make it tough for us to find space,” he said.
“This is what we have to be prepared for. I think it will be better for us. I hope it is this way and we dominate the game, that we control possession, that we have sufficient patience, and the ability to overcome them.
“We are preparing for this, and I hope we can resolve this problem.
“On the question of the centre forward, I don’t think it is an issue whether we play with one or two, it isn’t important. For example, we played against Luxembourg with two and we did well, Alcacer and Diego Costa played well.
“If we play with one tomorrow we have a possibility, and with the people up front, to cause them problems.”
Spain (15 points) sit second in Group C’s standings behind Slovakia (18) and ahead of Ukraine (12), who host Belarus.