Friday, July 14, 2017

National Team Managers-Part Four (Luis ‘Suarez’ Miramontes (1988/1991))-Part 4 (1991)

Year 1991
Despite the (9-0) win over Albania, Suarez’s position was tenuous and much was riding on Spain’s upcoming qualifier vs. France in Paris in February.
He had been forced to enlarge Spain’s player pool in the beginning of the season due to circumstances.
Regulars such as Julio Salinas, Francisco Villaroya (now at Real Madrid) and Genar Andrinua were struggling and for the time being were discarded.
However, Suarez stated that the door was not closed on them.
While Manolo was playing regularly at Atletico Madrid, Suarez felt it was not in his true position.
The backbone of the team (Zubizaretta, Sanchis, Michel, Martin Vazquez and Butrageuno) was intact.
The influence of Roberto (now back at Valencia) was waning.
Young players like Hierro and Alkorta were now fully integral parts of the team, as were newcomers such as Amor, Goicoetchea and Carlos (up front).

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2342, February 26, 1991
(Luis Suarez, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

For some time, Spain were having problems in the forward positions.
Julio Salinas had been unable to complement Butragueno, while Manolo and Moya were not real center forwards. Carlos appeared (for the time being) to be the striker that Spain were looking for to fit that mold.
Spain would start out the year with a friendly vs. Iberian neighbors Portugal at Castellon on January 16th, 1991.
Portugal took the lead through Oceano Cruz (37th minute) before Gabriel Moya (71st minute) tied up the match.
This would be Roberto’s last cap for Spain as he would disappear from Suarez’s plans.
Suarez would introduce two new debutants: Osasuna’s Martin Dominguez and Atletico Madrid’s Juan Vizcaino.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 25, February 1991
(Manolo, January 16, 1991, Spain 1-Portugal 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 25, February 1991
(Roberto, January 16, 1991, Spain 1-Portugal 1)

The decisive qualifier vs. France took place at Paris on February 20th, 1991.
France had vastly improved under Michel Platini and had won their first three matches in the Group.
Before the match, Suarez believed that this was a ”very important match but do not believe will be decisive, it will be a good match as both teams possess brilliant individuals”.
He had to contend with the unavailability of key midfielder Rafael Martin Vasquez.
Spain started brightly and played well in the early stages. They took the lead through Bakero in the 10th minute.
However, France struck back just minutes later through Franck Sauzee (14th minute).
In the second half, France took the lead through Jean-Pierre Papin (58th minute) and Laurent Blanc (77th minute) completed the scoring for a (3-1) win.

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 26, March 1991
(France’s Bruno Martini making a save, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 26, March 1991
(Jose Maria Bakero and Jean-Phillipe Durand, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2342, February 26, 1991
(Franck Sauzee scoring the equalizer, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: France Football, Issue 2342, February 26, 1991
(Jean-Pierre Papin scoring, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 26, March 1991
(Jean-Pierre Papin scoring, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: Onze-Mondial, Issue 26, March 1991
(Laurent Blanc scoring past Andoni Zubizaretta, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

Photo From: (Magazine Source unknown) / Contribution From a blog viewer (special thanks to Jose Luis Carbonell)
(Spain squad, February 20, 1991, EC Qualifier, France 3-Spain 1)

This loss effectively eliminated Spain from the Euros. Spain once again lost despite playing well in stages. In fact France Manager Michel Platini felt that “on pure skill Spain had us beaten”, but it was for naught as Spain lost again away against a close rival. Platini furthermore added that the score did not reflect the difference between the teams and that Spain was one of the best teams that France had played in a while.
Surprisingly, Miguel Soler had earned a recall (after nearly three years) for this match and came on as a substitute.
The last time Spain had failed to qualify for the Finals of a major Tournament was for the 1974 World Cup; they had qualified for all competitions since the 1976 Euros.
Spain were left with two more friendlies to conclude the season.
On March 27th, 1991, they hosted Hungary at Santander. After the loss vs. France, Spain were a demoralized side and this match confirmed it. Suarez used the match to try out most of his squad and used many substitutions. Atletico Madrid’s in-form goalkeeper Abel earned his International debut (though he gave up three goals).
Jozef Kiprich (42nd minute) gave Hungary the lead, before Manolo tied up the match (43rd minute) with a penalty kick.
Emil Lorincz (54th minute) gave Hungary the lead and Jozef Kiprich (75th minute) scored Hungary’s third goal.
Carlos pulled a goal back (83rd minute) before Emil Lorincz scored his second and Hungary’s fourth (88th minute) in a (4-2) away win for them.
Afterwards Suarez assumed responsibility for the defeat for his tactics.
Spain’s next friendly was vs. Romania at Caceres on April 17th, 1991.
Suarez included many new caps in what was to be his final match in charge.
It seemed like an act of desperation to inject new players hoping to get a reaction from his team.
Roberto Solozabal, Juan Carlos, Fernando Giner, Luis Enrique and Ziganda earned their first caps.
The new changes brought no dividends and Spain suffered another loss (0-2).
Spain had been better in the first half, but once Romania scored, the fragile side surrendered.
Romania scored through Ion Timofte (46th minute), Gavril Balint (56th minute) to inflict Suarez’s third straight loss as Manager (twice at home).
It was crisis time and his fate was sealed.
Two days after this match he was summoned by the Federation President Angel Villar to discuss his future.
Spain appeared on a free-fall and it was no surprise when Luis Suarez was dismissed as National Team Manager on April 30th, 1991.

His reign had started on a positive note as he had introduced new players to a team in decline and had re-invigorated their fortunes.
His past as the Under-21 Manager made him familiar with virtually all the players in the system and he knew their qualities.
He inherited the ‘El Quinta del Buitre’ at its height and his demise paralleled the gradual decline of this Generation.
In fact his last season in charge was also when Real Madrid were going through one of their bleakest seasons. This final season also coincided with Barcelona’s rise in dominance domestically, but even the Barceloan contingent could not mask Spain’s slide.
Suarez’s post-1990 World Cup rebuilding forced him to throw in the deep end too many players that perhaps should have been introduced gradually. However, circumstances had forced a hasty introduction.
It must be remembered that for these Euros only one team per Group qualified, perhaps if two teams qualified (as they would from next edition onwards), the planning and reactions would be different and not as dramatic. The loss in the Fall of 1990 vs. Czechoslovakia effectively created a state where the smallest mistake onwards was deadly. In other circumstances perhaps they would have been able to work in more serenity and adjust tactics (play for a draw at Paris, etc..)
Suarez would also be remembered for some of his outbursts, such as his sending off vs. Northern Ireland in 1989. In addition, a seemingly harmless pre-match question in 1990 about his assessment of Tottenham Hotspur’s Spanish midfielder Nayim brought a violent reaction.
He would lament how he did not have more striker options other than Butragueno and Manolo, and the only tall striker at his disposal was Julio Salinas. He believed Spain were limited in that department as most clubs employed foreign strikers such as the Mexican Hugo Sanchez and the Austrian Toni Polster, among others.
He retired from management afterwards but did take interim posts. He stepped into the breach at his former club Internazionale Milano in 1992 and again in 1995, as well as at Albacete in 1994.
After his dismissal Vicente Miera would be appointed as Interim Manager for the (1991/92) season, before Javier Clemente was appointed as Spain’s new Manager in the Fall of 1992.
For More Detail, see:

Todo\ Sobre La Seleccion Espanola, Felix Martialay, 2006 
World Soccer, April 1990
World Soccer, April 1991
World Soccer, July 1990
El Grafico Number 3602, 1988
Diario Avisos 14 diciembre, 1989
Foot Magazine, Issue 102, April 1990
France Football, Issue 2236, February 14, 1989
France Football, Issue 2271, October 17, 1989
France Football, Issue 2333, December 25, 1990
France Football, Issue 2342, February 26, 1991
Onze-Mondial, Europe 1-Coupe Du Monde Italia 90
Onze-Mondial, Hors Serie 3, 1990
Onze-Mondial, Issue 18, July 1990
Onze-Mondial, Issue 25, February 1991
Onze-Mondial, Issue 26, March 1991


1 comment:

  1. ¡Bravo! Todo el trabajo que siempre quise hacer y nunca me decidí a realizar. Congratulations.