Marca, although not always the most reliable of sources, is today reporting that Vicente Del Bosque is considering dropping Fernando Torres ahead of Spain’s World Cup semi-final clash with Germany and replacing the Liverpool forward with David Silva. With Joachim Low’s side having dominated the midfield battle against both England and Argentina, La Furia Roja are reportedly seeing a flooded midfield as the best way to negate the intelligent play of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.
Although it’s best to take Marca’s claims with a pinch of salt, Silva’s inclusion would make good sense from a tactical point of view. With Torres having struggled to produce anything like his best form in South Africa, David Villa looks set to become the lone striker with Silva, a player that is both a threat going forward and willing to track back in the wide areas, nominally deployed on the left side.
With Germany using wingers that are particularly adept on the counter-attack and enjoy regularly cutting inside, the new Manchester City signing has the pace and work rate that could see him get in behind Germany when in possession and drop deep to cover his full-back in the defensive phase. He might just be Del Bosque’s secret weapon on Wednesday.
Of course, there are other potential options open to the Spanish coach. Cesc Fabregas impressed after coming on against Paraguay and could be deployed in an advanced midfield role supporting Villa with Torres dropped to the bench in what would likely resemble more of a 4-4-1-1 than Spain’s usual 4-2-3-1.
The exciting Jesus Navas is also available to Del Bosque and the former Real Madrid coach could be tempted to use the Sevilla man’s explosive pace on the right side to test the inexperienced Jerome Boateng, with Iniesta shifting to the left and Villa again taking up the lone striker role.
Indeed, Spain may even go for a straight swap up front, with Fernando Llorente looking sharp when brought on against Portugal and potentially in line to lead the attack at Torres’ expense should the coaching staff deem such a change necessary.
Whatever eleven Del Bosque does eventually select, it has become clear during the knock-out stages that the key to beating Germany is to dominate the midfield battle and stifle their creativity from deep.
Spain are arguably better equipped to do this than any of the other teams Low’s side have beaten en route to the last four, something that should make for a fascinating game when the two country’s clash in Durban on Wednesday night.