Can Spain outscore their opponents in Group E?
Spain's lead-in to the Euros couldn't have gone much worse. Captain Sergio Busquets is isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19, leaving the rest of the squad in quarantine and unable to train together just days before their opening game against Sweden. The team couldn't even play their final warm-up friendly against Lithuania given the coronavirus precautions, drafting in the U21s instead, and are undergoing daily testing in the hope that an outbreak has been avoided, with defender Diego Llorente the latest to return a positive result.
Prior to that, coach Luis Enrique's 24-man squad list had already enraged across the nation, with the omission of an unfit Sergio Ramos -- coupled with the absence of any Real Madrid players -- causing indignation in the Madrid press. The coach doesn't seem to have settled on a starting XI yet, either. There are doubts over the goalkeeping situation: Athletic Bilbao's Unai Simon was picked ahead of David de Gea and Brighton's Robert Sanchez vs. Portugal last Friday, but looked nervous in their 0-0 draw.
That game also raised further questions over whether Alvaro Morata is the right man to lead a goal-shy attack, with Villarreal's Gerard Moreno a tempting alternative. The in-form Marcos Llorente has been squeezed into the team at right-back, an imperfect solution for arguably La Liga's best midfielder last season. At least Luis Enrique looks to have settled on Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte -- whose Spanish nationality was fast-tracked in time for the tournament -- as an elegant, ball-playing centre-back pairing. The midfield is full of talent, with Rodri Hernandez, Pedri, Fabian Ruiz, Koke and Thiago Alcantara all competing for places even if Busquets ends up missing out, while Ferran Torres offers goals and trickery out wide.
When it clicks, as it did in a 6-0 Nations League win over Germany in November, it can be spectacular. Too often, though, Luis Enrique's Spain have suffered from a familiar lack of cutting edge. It could doom them again this summer.