Why Iker Casillas is under most Pressure for Spain Following Win over Luxembourg
David De Gea’s first competitive start for Spain was always planned to happen against Luxembourg—not a reaction to the costly mistake of Iker Casillas against Slovakia, via Marca.
The Manchester United shot-stopper was assured and comfortable with a back line containing three Barcelona defenders.
De Gea wasn’t exactly rushed off his feet, but it’s rare that a side so dominate in possession will need a goalkeeper to be making regular saves.
His concentration levels are excellent, an area that the Real Madrid legend once excelled in.
The size of the task facing Vicente del Bosque looked fairly huge following the World Cup, but defeat to Slovakia has intensified this further.
Spain was on a run of five defeats in the last seven away matches, prior to the meeting with Luxembourg.
This was a country that was for so long unbeaten in all matches and won three consecutive tournaments.
The victory at the Stade Josy Barthel was needed, not so much for qualification purposes, but as an answer to the critics.
Had Diego Costa not found his first goal for his adoptive land, then fingers probably would have pointed in a very different direction.
However, the Chelsea forward did eventually put away one of his many chances, and the game became more about those that were missing.
It’s difficult for any player to ascertain when the right time to step aside is, but Casillas risks his legacy every time he puts on the national team shirt.
He’s quickly becoming a symbol of everything that’s going wrong with Del Bosque’s men. Whether that’s fair or not is another issue.
“In this country, which has thousands of positive things, there are also bad things,” explained Casillas in an interview with Canal Plus show Inaki, per ESPN.
And among those bad things is envy. It is true that a few months ago it was all terrible, and I was to blame for everything — the first problem. Everyone wanted to get rid of me because I had the plague.
That feeling has not left many Roja supporters, and he now faces the uphill task of changing a common perception.
Casillas has been on the wane for at least 18 months now, whilst both Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti have felt the need to drop the goalkeeper for varying lengths of time.
Del Bosque has stood by those who have won him trophies in the past, and he’s certainly capitalised on the retirement of Xavi, David Villa and Xabi Alonso.
Those players leaving the international setup have taken the decision out of the coach’s hands and allowed less media frenzy.
Casillas is the oldest of the current squad and even though he has been hugely successful, he’s a reminder to the exact point when everything fell apart.
That’s not necessarily his fault; his mere association would be enough for many to require him to step aside.
The fact his performances have been poor and he has made a number of high-profile errors means that he would be better away from the team at present.
Unlike when he started his career at Old Trafford, De Gea will be given time by the fans to grow alongside this team and its new construction.
He has already demonstrated the strength of character to overcome a pressurised situation at a very young age.
Del Bosque will likely restore Casillas as his No. 1 for the fixtures with Belarus and Germany in November.
But the 33-year-old knows that he will have to produce unachievable expectations to change the long-term opinions of many.