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The difficulty of rebuilding

AS AS 15/06/2014 Alfredo Relaño

Rebuilding a winning side is hard. That's as old as football. You always expect those who have given so much to be able to give a little more. The ties that bind are more than just the memory of the triumphs, they become almost superstitions. An old fan like me has seen it so many times. How can you drop him or him? What right do you have? Will the fresh-faced youngster really do any better? And that weighs heavily, above all, on the mind of the coach who’s shared in their glorious journey. Nobody has it harder, because there is a bond of shared victories, and of hardships overcome, that influences every decision.

Guardiola left Barça because of this very problem: in order to avoid slicing up the team with which he’d shared so much. Del Bosque is in this terrible situation now. Maybe the Confederations Cup was the opportunity to refresh the team, but the fact it coincided with the Euro Under-21s (which we won) stopped that happening. The chance was lost. So now, looking at the squad, in which 16 from the last World Cup are included, with 14 of them playing against Holland, Del Bosque has shown extreme loyalty to the side who triumphed in South Africa. And yesterday he confirmed his commitment in his press conference, starting by talking about Casillas.

The doubt now is whether he’ll make changes, as the fans, and common sense, demand, and how many. It’s tough, of course. Changing means blaming, unless you alter the entire side. The problem is that everything went wrong, not just those of a ‘suspicious’ age, such as Casillas and Xavi, but also others from the following set of players, notably Sergio Ramos and Piqué. The second half was a horror movie. But it was just half a match and it wouldn’t be a bad idea right now to see it as an exception, where everything that could go wrong did. The group now has the chance to prove that Del Bosque was right to continue with them.

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