Spain´s debut against Sweden in Euro2020 risks to be remembered more for the concerns due to players tested positive to covid than for what will actually happen on the pitch. Because let´s face it: whatever is going to happen, it will always be a ‘what would have been if *player name* were able to play?’
Spain vs. Sweden
Monday, June 14, 2021 – 03:00 PM EDT at Estadio de La Cartuja
Busquets, Diego Llorente; Kulusevsky, Svanberg. We are not making a scoresheet, but giving the medical bulletin issued by the federations in the past days. UEFA rules allow playing a game if at least 13 players (including a goalkeeper) have not been infected and are fit. However, the Swedish FA had been vocal in asking UEFA for Spain to have 10 days of quarantine. The Swedes demand was immediately curbed by Kulusevsky and Svanberg.
To add insult to injury, a social media video of a home party Kulusevsky took part in, before joining the national team, became viral. The whole story has put the Swedish national team coach, Janne Andersson, already guilty for the Swedish press for not having called 26 players instead of the 24. On the same Tuesday, the 8th of June, when Spain took by storm Lithuania in a friendly (4-0) the news of Kulusevsky positivity broke out and leveled the chaos that had affected the Spanish camp in La Rozas in the previous day. Will the football come to the fore as the game approaches?
Hard to predict what kind of football the two teams will be able to play, because it´s true that tactics are independent from the individuals, but here we talk about some key players from both sides who will not be involved in the first game. Because it´s hard to think Luis Enrique can implement his 4-3-3 smoothly without a pivot as Busquets and Sweden have lost the player with most flair and also their midfield wall in a 4-4-2 formation that anyway could create interesting duels on the flanks.
Who can replace the missing protagonists? Not easy. Imagine having to shoot the Godfather without Marlon Brando or Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford. You still might get a good remake of it, but it´s not going to be like the real one. Thiago Alcantara will probably have to replace Busquets in the middle of the park and another ‘Italian’ player, Sampdoria´s midfielder Albin Ekdal, might get the nod. For the Swedish left-wing, all hits to Watford´s Ken Sema. Not great, not terrible. Since Llorente was tested laster false positive, Luis Enrique will have him available in the defense.
This week ahead of the game has put the football in the background and the typical national team boot camp atmosphere off. With all the tests, isolations, quarantines, work in groups and the social media witch hunts we would not be surprised that the players' brains have not been able to focus on the game. Probably the game itself, with his normality, will help both sides to get out of this complicated situation.
Being aware that the positive players might not be able to be part of the squad for the upcoming games, both teams will try to make the most out of this game without thinking too much about the defensive part. It has been a hard week in the office, they say, let´s have fun. Despite the high odds, we would stake on Both Teams To Score options. The Over 2.5 looks like a decent alternative to bet on for this game.