World Cup 2010 Preview Spain vs Honduras : Left with no margin for error, Spain is evaluating how to play against Honduras following its opening World Cup loss in which Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas failed to make the starting line-up.
Switzerland's 1-0 victory on Wednesday means the European champions cannot lose Monday's Group H match at Ellis Park if they want to advance to the second round. Xabi Alonso reiterated that Spain will stick to its possession-based game, but that coach Vicente del Bosque was considering making player changes.
"Nothing's decided yet. Logically, the coach is analysing (the game)," Alonso said Friday from the team's base in Potchefstroom. "It's hard to evaluate, especially since the system worked well in the warm-up games coming in. The coach makes the decisions and whatever he decides, the players back him 100 per cent."
Del Bosque was criticised by former coach Luis Aragones, who led Spain to the 2008 European Championship title, for picking two holding midfielders — Alonso and Sergio Busquets — and only David Villa as striker. That left Torres and Fabregas — rated as two of the world's best players — out of the line-up.
"With the last coach, I was player No. 12 and he showed that with his decisions. This coach has opted for other players at times," Fabregas, an unused substitute against the Swiss, told Marca. "I'm not getting the minutes I would like, but it's not affecting my work habits."
Defender Gerard Pique said Fabregas could provide what the Spanish were lacking. "A lot of touch, the ability to get into the area and goals," Pique said. "If the coach opts for him, he'll help us very much."
Torres came on for the last half-hour at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium to show his right knee was completely recovered after surgery.
"Fernando brings so much potency with his speed, how he finishes off in front of goal and the calmness he brings us up front," Alonso said. "I think his knee problems are in the past."
Pique said team morale was high despite the bad start for one of the tournament favourites, though any questions over the possibility of facing Brazil in the elimination stage were ignored.
"Everything seems so dramatic after our defeat — that we have to change our style. But this is the way we play ... we know how all of this works," Pique said. "We need to qualify, and there's no margin for error. People know that. We're sure we're capable of doing it."
Alonso and Pique expected Honduras to sit back and rely on counterattacks, like Switzerland. The United States played the same way in beating Spain at last year's Confederation's Cup, the team's only other loss in its past 50 games, with both coming under Del Bosque.
"They were two complicated games, and very similar," Alonso said. "They played the same style, backing up every time we went forward. We need to try and break it down the best way possible." Chile and Switzerland lead the group with three points, while Honduras and Spain both have zero.