Dani Olmo is a Spanish foreigner who could make a big impact in the knockout stages

Spain last won a major tournament, technically, last year. Their women’s team triumphed in Sydney to win the Women’s World Cup, playing a brand of football more familiar to the men’s team.

Their main player in the knockout stage was Salma Paralulolo, which was unusual as she wasn’t really a regular starter. She came on as a substitute in the quarter-finals and became the winner. She came on as a substitute in the semi-final and again scored the winner. He didn’t score from the lead in the final, but he was a solid choice for the tournament’s best XI, even if he wasn’t a sure-fire choice for his home team’s starting XI.

As strange as it sounds, it’s becoming more and more common. Federico Chiesa, who started just four of Italy’s seven games at the last European Championship, was voted in the team of the tournament despite his impressive performances as a substitute. Perhaps, in this era where managers can use up to five subs, we should also choose a 'best bench’ of the competition – not just players who have played regularly, but players who make the best XI. Huge impact off the bench.

That could be Dani Olmo’s role at Euro 2024. With Spain already qualified for the knockout stages after two impressive wins over Croatia and Italy, Luis de la Fuente rotated his entire side in a 1-0 win over Albania. Dusseldorf.

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Centre-back Aymeric Laporte was the only player to survive the emphatic 1-0 win over Spain, the only player to return to the side after missing the opening 3-0 win over Croatia – he was replaced at half-time. -Time.

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Basically, nobody started all three games. Only his fellow centre-back Robin Le Normand has played more than 180 minutes so far, and third-choice goalkeeper Alex Remiro has played some part. Tournament football has always been a team sport, but now it is a 26-man team sport.

The Spain of 2024 is not the Spain of 2020 or 2016, and certainly not 2012. Tiki-taka hasn’t been completely overhauled – the technical quality and fundamentals of that style of football are still there – but Spain’s first XI in this match features a perfect centre-forward, Alvaro Morata, and two perfect wingers, Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal. The false nine drops aren’t deep and wide players don’t move in to overload the center.

Where does Olmo come from? Olmo is a different player, very typical of Spain a few years ago. As he did so well in the Euro 2020 semi-final, he can move in from the flanks or play as a false nine, or as he did on Monday night, he can play as an attacking central midfielder. Spain looked 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 without possession. Olmo pressed high and then found space in the right hand channel.

In simple terms of finding a place, Olmo is the best player in Spain’s squad. This proved to be the only goal of the game. First, right-sided center back Daniel Vivian was on the ball. The road to Olmo was blocked.

So he changed his position slightly and went straight into the channel and heard the ball at his feet. The pass didn’t come through and instead went to Laporte for the defense.

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Olmo took that as a sign to sprint forward diagonally, putting himself in position to receive the pass again.

Laporte was more ambitious than Vivian and threw the ball at Olmo’s feet.

Olmo kept the ball between the lines. This type of movement is simple on paper but very difficult in the middle of a high-tempo, high-level soccer game. Olmo understands space and angles better than anyone in football at the moment – and then assisted Ferran Torres.

Something planned by both of them.

„I talked to Dani before the game and he needs to measure those balls in space,” Torres said. „When I ran, I knew he saw me and I didn’t think twice.” The finish, off for post, was perfect.

It was a classic Spanish-style goal, perhaps reminiscent of the balls Lionel Messi played for Pedro at Barcelona. That comparison certainly flatters Olmo, but he’s a No.10 for Spain and, like Messi, who was an outsider at Barcelona when he grew up in Argentina, Olmo feels like he offers something different. Many years were spent with Dinamo Zagreb, a club that worshiped the 10th row, whereas the Spaniard preferred deep-lying passers and wide players.

There was more to Olmo’s game. He repeatedly attempted similar passes to Torres. He twice collected fierce cutbacks from full-backs Jesus Navas and Alex Grimaldo with excellent first touches. At the start of the second half, he attempted a shot from the half-way line which he tipped wide, but it showed his level of confidence.

“Dani Olmo is a great player; A wonderful football player. I respect him a lot,” de la Fuente said later.

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„He is a team player. He stands out, but he thinks more about the team than himself as an individual. I have many different players to choose from, many solutions, and that is good for the national side.

Despite his brilliance on Wednesday night, Olmo may not be able to break into Spain’s starting XI, but, as recent history shows, that doesn’t mean he can’t be the tournament’s most decisive attacker.

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