Why Spain Should Start Fernando Torres Against Ireland

Vicente Del Bosque isn’t planning on bowing down to the public pressure and change anything from the lineup he had start for Spain’s 1-1 draw with Italy. Fernando Torres may not have scored in the 16 minutes he had on the field, but he deserves to start in Spain’s next match against Ireland.

Not so much as Torres, but a striker in general. Maybe Alvaro Negredo, maybe Fernando Llorente. But Spain need a striker, a real one. Not just someone who’s a midfielder but Del Bosque presses the number 9 position on him. It isn’t stopping Del Bosque, with a few titles in his resume with club and country, to try and convince everyone that the 4-6-0 tactic works.

Against Ireland we will play a No. 9 – though it depends what you understand by a No. 9. David Silva is a forward. Andres Iniesta plays like one and so does Cesc. We have four options: the three everyone is aware of: Torres, Llorente and Negredo, and then that of Cesc. Those are all very good attacking solutions. I am not unhappy with the options we have.

Fernando Torres wasn’t exactly perfect in the 16 minutes he had to impress against Italy, or in general since leaving Liverpool for Chelsea. He missed two fantastic opportunities in front of Gianluigi Buffon, adding a yellow card for the record book. But Del Bosque needs to look at how Spain played with and without a real striker, and what really hurt the Irish in their match against Croatia.

Spain had problems breaking through the Italian defense for more than 75 minutes. They did score a goal, but only after conceding one. Most of the time, the wonderful passing between Silva, Iniesta and Xavi failed to create chances from close range. No one was going in, not even Cesc Fabregas, except for that one time when David Silva found him with a brilliant assist.

But when Torres came on, something happened to the Italian defense. All the passing and motion always leaves someone free. When you have a target in the box, a target like the one that scored twice against Ireland with his head, it’s much harder for a team like Italy or Ireland, who defend with similar numbers (but not with the same type of intelligence or quality) to handle the Spanish game.

But alas, despite everyone knowing the fact that striker benefit more than anyone from an abundance of playing time, Del Bosque keeps relying on the best midfield in the world to solve the goal-scoring problems and eventually lead to a title defense. Fernando Torres should get more than 16 minutes on the pitch. For him, and for the benefit of the Spanish team.

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