09/28/2022 at 10:34

    EST

    It once again places Spain among the best on the continent despite not having any candidate for the Ballon d’Or among its squad

    With Barça, the Spaniard played nine finals, of which he won eight

    “As the game progressed, it was clearer that we were going to score,” said Luis Enrique in the press room at the Braga stadium, minutes after Morata’s goal certified a particularly important victory for Spain: for what it meant sportingly -classification for the final of the Nations- and for what he had of high spirits.

    Luis Enrique’s phrase also reveals a particularly competitive character that the Asturian coach has known how to infect his players.

    Beyond the fact that many of his decisions are subject to constant scrutiny, or that his manners before the press irritate more than one, the coach has made Spain a team, if not as brilliant as in the golden journey (2008- 2012), at least as competitive as then.

    Second consecutive Nations final

    He proved it again by placing Spain in the final of the Nations, the second in a row. Only the Netherlands (2019 and 2023), Italy (2021 and 2023) and Spain (2021 and 2023) they can boast of having been in two finals of the new UEFA tournament.

    The character and competitiveness of Luis Enrique have ensured that Spain remains among the best on the continent despite having a much younger roster of players than other major teams.

    Without having any great international star among its summons (there are no Spaniards among the candidates for the 2022 Ballon d’Or; Portugal has four, for example), Spain rubs shoulders with the best since Luis Enrique took over as coach.

    He did it by placing Spain in the final of the Nations 2021, in which only a controversial arbitration decision separated him from victory against France.

    He did it months later, signing a great Eurocopa: Spain did not play the final, but fell in the semifinals on penalties against the future champion.

    He has done it again in this edition of the Nations, winning against all odds in Portugal. It had been 19 years since Spain had won in the neighboring country. He did it in an agonizing way, with a goal in the 88th minute, the work of Morata, which reinforces Luis Enrique’s plan for the World Cup.

    The ‘feeling’ of the coach with the finals was already evident in his time as coach of Barça: He played in one Champions League final, one European Super Cup, one Club World Cup, three Copa del Rey and three Spanish Super Cup. He won them all, except for the Spanish Super Cup that he lost to Athletic Club in the summer of 2015.

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