Alvaro Morata has had an indifferent Euro2020. Looking dangerous at times, the Spaniard has scored just twice in five appearances for Luis Enrique’s side, while he and fellow striker Gerard Moreno have been responsible for some high-profile misses.
Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno have scored 2 goals from 7.40(xG) between them at Euro 2020. pic.twitter.com/gxxfv6Z9ko
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) July 5, 2021
Speaking to Jose Enrique ahead of the tournament, the feeling was that Morata needed to prove himself to Spanish fans and team-mates alike, with the ex-Liverpool defender saying:
“There’s always been doubt about Alvaro Morata. It’s always- Great player, he does so well, but there’s always doubt there”
And it appears as though Enrique has been proven correct, with Morata dropped for Spain’s semi-final clash with Italy at Wembley.
🚨 OFICIAL | ¡¡TENEMOS LA ALINEACIÓN INICIAL PARA LAS SEMIS!!
👏🏻 ¿ESTÁIS LISTOS, AFICIÓN? ¡¡VAMOOOOOS!!
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) July 6, 2021
Perhaps surprisingly, however, it is not Gerard Moreno, the only other recognised striker in the squad, that takes his place.
A return to the False 9
For those that do not know, a false 9 is a formation that does not have a recognised striker (a “number 9”). Instead, an attacking midfielder or winger tends to fill the role, leading to the “false 9” terminology.
The formation has been used very successfully this season by Manchester City, and Spain themselves have found success previously with the system.
Spain return to their false 9 ways instead of playing Morata tonight.
Can’t help but feel quite sorry for the lad pic.twitter.com/4nj9ahkKFx
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) July 6, 2021
Most notably, Cesc Fabregas was deployed in the role in Spain’s Euro2012 success, where he kept the likes of Fernando Torres and Negredo out of the side.
It remains to be seen which of Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) or Ferran Torres (Manchester City) will occupy the role against the Azzurri, but it will certainly make for an intriguing contest.
For their part, Italy make just one enforced change, with Chelsea defender Emerson coming in for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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