Belarus 0 Spain 4: Lessons as Pedro nets impressive hat-trick
Belarus 0 Spain 4: What did we learn as the reigning world and European champions eased to victory in Minsk?
False forward formation makes a successful return
Relatively unseen in club football, Spain’s ‘strikerless’ formation made a return as Belarus were thumped 4-0 largely thanks to a Pedro hat-trick. Introduced early on in the European championship by manager Vicente del Bosque, the 4-6-0 may look unorthodox but it is deadly when used by the Spaniards. Belarus had little answer to the speed and velocity at which Spain played the game and along with some catastrophic defending, the players were able to stroll past the eastern Europeans. The ploy has been a frustrating one in some games but based on Friday night’s performance, Del Bosque should have no reason to change his philosophy for the midweek France game in Madrid.
Stunning Pedro hat-trick portrays endless strength in depth
Pedro Rodríguez often goes through phases of poor form but a world-class hat-trick proved his quality to both club and national team managers. The Barcelona winger had not netted since the Super Copa first leg back in August and had only scored one prior to that on the opening day of the season but he played admirably, featuring in all four goals. Two delightful chipped goals and another cool finish ensured he scored more in one game than he had all season! Pedro also set up Jordi Alba for the first goal, a piece of footballing genius as he back-heeled the ball through to the full-back at pace, which looked all the more impressive in replays afterwards. Additionally, Sergio Busquets was deployed as an emergency centre-back, further underlining the continual mill of talent at Spain’s disposal.
Spectator Casillas rewrites Spanish record
Iker Casillas has long been an underused member of the Spanish squad in the context that he hardly touches the ball during matches. Due to the strength of Spain’s defence and midfield, Casillas rarely has a save to make on the international scene and against Belarus he set a new national record of 725 minutes without conceding a goal. This new feat surpassed his previous record of 708 minutes and equals Santiago Canizares’ record of nine successive clean sheets. Keeping the French out at the Vicente Calderón on Tuesday will take Casillas to 10 games in an era when records appear to tumble by the game.
Impressive performance by Spain – for those able to see it!
They may be world and European champions but Spanish viewers were unable to see their mecurial side due to broadcasting problems. No television companies bid the €1.5m Sport Five charged to host the game and instead the Spanish public had to make do with untrustworthy internet streams as a result. It had been assumed that radio companies would make up for the loss of images but were instead faced with a charge of €25,000 on the day to commentate – unsurprisingly none paid. The RFEF (Spanish FA) blamed the broadcasting absence on the ‘difficult economic situation in the country’ and the ‘falling income from advertising companies’. A similar problem was faced in the 2010 World Cup qualifying when England played in Ukraine. Nobody submitted a bid and consequently the game went viral.