Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Nagelsmann´s focus on Musiala, not Yamal ahead of Spain clash

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Jul 2024

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Julian Nagelsmann explained his preparations for Germany’s quarter-final clash with Spain revolved around Jamal Musiala, not Lamine Yamal.

Yamal, who became only the third teenager to provide multiple assists at the European Championships after Enzo Scifo (1984) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2004), has been a shining light for La Roja at the tournament.

The 16-year-old has also completed 94% of his passes under pressure, the highest rate of any Spain player to play at least 180 minutes so far at Euro 2024.

However, Musiala has also shone in his second major international tournament and is currently the joint-top scorer heading into the quarter-final stage.

“My focus is less on Yamal and more on Jamal. Attacking-wise we can do a lot of things ourselves,” Nagelsmann said.

“He (Yamal) is a big talent. He’s been very consistent this year and there are not many who are so consistent, also for his club Barcelona.

“He is just 16, which also means our players have a chance to hold their own against him. We’ll see how he reacts when things get tough.”

Luis de la Fuente’s new-look Spain have been one of the standout teams at the tournament so far, scoring nine goals in their four games so far and conceding just once.

La Roja have moved away from their possession brand of football, something which Nagelsmann believes will be key during the contest in Stuttgart.

“We have a defensive orientation with different variations but we have the demand to have the ball ourselves. It is more comfortable to play when you have possession,” Nagelsmann said.

“Spain press high to force quick transitions, also win the ball high up the pitch. That is a quality they have acquired and it no longer is just tiki-taka.”

The weight of expectation falling on Nagelsmann’s shoulders is immense, with Germany hopeful of continuing the trend of host nations at the European Championships.

The tournament hosts of the Euros have never been eliminated from the quarter-final stage of the competition, but Germany face a Spain side they have failed to beat in their last four meetings.

That winless streak includes a 6-0 defeat in the Nations League in 2020, but Nagelsmann is keen to look to the future, rather than the present.

“I was not part of these games. I will never say in the changing room this is revenge for a game in the Nations League,” Nagelsmann said.

“I wasn’t there, and neither were some of the players. It is irrelevant for tomorrow.”

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