Spain coach Luis Enrique has suffered a lot of criticism over the last month and a half for several reasons.
He incurred the wrath of many fans and large sections of the Spanish media for leaving Sergio Ramos out of his squad and picking no players from Real Madrid, with newspaper AS accusing him of betraying the nation’s most popular club.
Leaving out Ramos due to his injury was already quite dubious, but to leave out other Real Madrid players such as Lucas Vazquez and Nacho Fernandez was beyond explanation. His team selection during the Euros has also been a cause for public debate as he has left out veterans such as David De Gea, Thiago Alcantara, etc on the bench.
The coach turned more heads by picking a 24-man squad instead of the ideal 26-man contingent which felt as if he was finding a way to leave out Real Madrid players.
Certain sections of the press even criticised him for encouraging Aymeric Laporte to switch nationalities and lead the team’s defence instead of just picking Ramos.
Busquets and Diego Llorente’s positive tests hit Spain’s preparations but Luis Enrique played down the upheaval with a subtle reminder of the pain he endured in August 2019 when his daughter Xana died aged nine from cancer.
“Compared to some of the things I’ve had to deal with, this is child’s play,” he said.
The Spanish media dealt with his daughter’s illness with great sensitivity but have been unforgiving about his handling of the national team and the knives came out when Spain drew their first two Euro 2020 games against Sweden and Poland.
Radio Marca described Luis Enrique as “pig-headed”, adding Spain were “not cut out to win this Euros and we all know it”.
The coach was asked in a news conference before the crunch game against Slovakia if he would resign if Spain was knocked out.
With all that being said, Spain are 2 wins away from winning their 4th Euro title and if they were to do so, everyone would have to accept that Luis Enrique knew what he was doing all along.