Spain Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis, Pick

Spain Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis, Pick article feature image

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network: Pictured: Rodri.

Spain come into the Euros after a couple of disappointing finishes in the previous two international tournaments. They were knocked out of the World Cup in 2022 by Morocco, as the days of the dominant Spanish sides of the early 2010s are gone.

Spain do have a new manager in Luis de la Fuente who has been managing in the Spain Youth ranks since 2013, which means their style of play has not changed at all from Luis Enrique or previous managers. They have been put into a difficult group with Italy and Croatia, but Spain are the favorites to prevail out of it.

The question is, how far can this version of Spain go playing heavy possession-based football when they actually have to face good pressing and transition teams?

Here is my Spain Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

Spain will utilize a 2-3-5 build up structure with Rodri as the main facilitator and the one dropping deep to aid in build up with the fullbacks providing width. Once they are in the opponent’s final third they are trying get central overloads by utilizing a box midfield or get a 4 v 3 overload in the half space with the winger out wide.

Teams often cut them off from playing centrally, so they are forced to send in crosses from the half space, which have mixed results and they are not a team that is set up to be successful with a high number of crosses during a match.

Nobody pressed Spain’s buildup during qualifying, so they ended up holding a ton of possession, but from an even game state or playing from behind, they really weren’t that great. When Spain have a lead, however, they are very difficult to play against if you are a team that tends to play very passively. Both Georgia and Scotland had that issue during qualifying when they fell behind and had to press Spain in build up and they are likely going to face three fairly passive teams in their group.

When they do lose the ball, they will counter-press immediately to try and win the ball back. From dead ball situations, they will play a 4-4-2 mid block relying on pressing triggers to know when to press opponents high.

Where Spain struggled through qualifying is when teams attacked them down the wide areas to send in crosses or long balls over the top. Because of their 2-3-5 structure, it does leave them sometimes in situations where teams have a 2 v 2 or 3 v 3 on the break and they also don’t have the best defensive center backs for that scenario.


data via WyScout

Final Verdict

Spain's prospects of going deep into this tournament really come down to who they are going to face along the way. They are lucky in the fact that two of the three teams in their group aren't dangerous transition or pressing teams, so winning their group will most likely come down to their match against Italy.

Spain's outright odds at 8/1 are a little too short in my opinion because the moment they have a team that can press effectively and are dangerous in transition, they are out of this tournament.

There is someone on Spain I do like to win the Golden Boot, and it's Alvaro Morata. He continues to start because he is one the most tactically astute strikers in world football with his ability to not only find space, but create space for others because of his positioning.

He’s going to start up top for an offense that averaged 2.51 xG per 90 minutes and also averaged 17.8 shots per 90 minutes. Both of those are top three in the Euro field. He was getting really good shot production for Spain, averaging 3.54 shots per 90 minutes, which was the most on the team for anyone that played over five matches.

What often happens with Spain is teams cut them off from playing centrally, so they are forced to send in crosses from the half space. Morata is a great threat in the air, winning over 57% of his aerial duels over the last two seasons.

With Morata fitting perfectly into Spain’s system and being the main striker for a top three offense, there is a lot of value on him at 33/1.

Pick: Alvaro Morata Top Goalscorer (+3300 via bet365)

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