Spain U19 – Match Report vs. Denmark U19 (29/03/2022)

During the most recent international break, Spain and Denmark’s Under 19s played. Spain looked the better side for most of the game but Denmark fought hard for the draw, coming down from 3-1. Spain had many chances to put the game to rest, as Denmark would not have come back if they were at a three goal deficit. Spain played a 4-3-3 on offense and would convert to a 4-4-2 on defense, having the forward 2 do the pressing to try and win the ball back. There were shining aspects from the game for Spain, two being Pablo Torre and Nico Serrano. Both played very well and showed that they could easily play at a higher level. Unfortunately, I will only be reviewing the Barcelona boys, Ilias Akhomach and Pablo Torre.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Pablo Torre

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: April 3, 2003
  • Career: Racing De Santander, Barcelona
  • Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Secondary Position: Left Winger
  • Preferred Foot: Right

Pablo Torre played as the attacking midfielder for Spain’s u-19 team. In attack, Torre would receive the ball in the left half space or deep into the opponents half. On defense, he would become the left sided striker, pressing the defense while the left and right wingers would drop back to become midfielders. Torre had very good defensive workrate all throughout the game, which was surprising as he was also one of the players running the most when Spain was in possession.

When Spain would win the ball and pass it to Torre, he would usually never lose the ball. Despite his small stature and figure compared to others, he was able to muscle players off the ball and use his body to keep the ball against stronger players. When the camera zoomed into Torre, I could see that he is well built compared to other players his size and on the field. Torre was very technical on the ball, being able to dribble his way out of a difficult situation, even with players on both sides of him. Torre’s awareness of his blind side also facilitated his one touch play when needed, also helping Spain keep the ball. Even before Torre receives the ball, he tries to confuse his defender by shifting his body from one side to the other, wanting the defender to put his weight on one side. This usually worked. Even if it didn’t work the first time, he would try it a second time after he had received the ball.

Torre’s strongest part of the game are his set pieces. He switched set piece takers with Nico Serrano, but I could tell that Torre’s set pieces were of much higher quality than Serrano’s. Pablo Torre gave two assists of corners that game and created many more chances off corners. Torre uses a technique where he dips the ball right before it goes into the crowd of players, confusing the defenders and giving clear scoring chances to his players. I have seen several of Pablo Torre’s games and I have noticed how he creates many chances or gives assists off of set pieces. 

Not only did he have two assists, but Pablo Torre was involved in every part of the game against Denmark. Torre, on the ball and off the ball, played very well.

Rating: A1

Torre will be one to watch for the future. He has a transfer agreed to go to Barcelona in the summer of 2022. I think that he would make a good squad option for the first team but I worry for his future there. He would be a third string option for attacking midfielder as Pedri and Gavi would be ahead of him and both of them are in their teens too. If he gets good game time, he has shown glimpses that he can become a world class player.

Ilias Akhomach

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 18
  • Date of Birth: April 16, 2004
  • Career: Barcelona
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Secondary Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred Foot: Left

Akhomach played as a right winger for the most part of the game, acting as an inverted winger until the second half, where he was subbed out. On the physical side, he looks very weak compared to the others. He looks small compared to the other players. Even though he looks taller than Pablo Torre, he looks weaker than him. Unlike Torre, Akhomach does not like to go up for aerial challenges with other players. He prefers to try and predict where the opponent will head the ball. Akhomach, to his credit, is very explosive off his first step and keeps that speed until he wants to. He beats players to the ball and can touch the ball around a player and then catch up to it. Akhomach off the ball isn’t a special sight. He looks average off the ball, his movement and defense are average or below average. Akhomach’s defensive workrate is low, even though he did play in a position where one doesn’t need to work hard defensively.

On the ball, Akhomach created chances, especially in the first half. With every possession, he either plays a simple pass back or creates a great chance for himself or his teammates. His strength on the ball is dribbling and he often looks to cut in between the opposing defensive midfielder and left back and go into the area. He can do this easily because of his body feints which often unbalance the defender. Then using his acceleration, he can cut into the eighteen and look for a shot or a disguised pass to a midfielder making a run into the box. On the other hand, when Akhomach can’t progress, he passes it back to a deeper lying midfielder and shifts into the middle to let the right back take his space. 

In the second half, Akhomach was not seen and was subbed out. He looked lost and did not receive the ball as much as he did in the first half. 

Rating: B1

Akhomach is still young (about a year younger than Torre) and still has plenty of room to grow at one of the best academies in the world. He should stay at Barca B for the remainder of the season and should be given at least three opportunities for the first team starting next season, as he was given very little first team minutes this season. If he fulfills his potential, I can see him becoming a more athletic Mahrez.

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