A LOOK AT LA LIGA
The jury is out, and the jury is very much split on what verdict to return on the Spanish national team.
The loss to Sweden ended a twenty-eight-year run without defeat in a World Cup qualifier, so we could justifiably say it is the end of an era.
However, Luis Enrique's team bounced back with victories over Georgia and Kosovo to hold a four-point lead of the qualifying group, so it could be claimed that the country's team is not at a crisis point.
It's very much like the summer when most fans wrote off any hopes at the Euros as they accepted the team was in transition. This appeared to be justified when they started with a dull draw against Sweden, yet they exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-finals.
It really is difficult to make a judgement. Take goalkeeper Unai Simon. At times he looks like a liability and then he will make a save that completely changes your perception.
Centre-half Eric García appears to be the natural successor to Gerard Piqué that his club and country have been looking for. He has a huge presence and all the attributes to be a top-class defender for the next decade. Yet, the shocking performance against Athletic Bilbao which ended in a dismissal still burns in the short-term memory.
Carlos Soler is the latest young player to make his mark when promoted to the senior side. A goal in the fourth minute of his debut was followed by another against Georgia. This comes on the back of a sensational start for his club Valencia for whom he's scored three goals in the opening three Liga games.
Remember teenager Pedri was given time off following the marathon season which ended with a starring role at the Euros and Olympics. He's arguably the most exciting young talent in European football. Ansu Fati has just been handed the coveted number ten shirt at Barcelona and great things are expected of the eighteen-year-old. Couple these two with Ferran Torres who is establishing himself under the guidance of Pep Guradiola at Manchester City and you have a fearsome strike force.
They are backed up by Rodri who is the natural successor to Sergio Busquets as a midfield enforcer. From what I've written so far, the case for an all-conquering Spanish national team is very convincing.
However, there is still an element of doubt. Álvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno continue to earn selection yet neither have proven to be of international quality. Jordi Alba and César Azpilicueta are both 32-year-olds and should be concentrating on club football but are in the side because there are no real challengers.
Remember there were no Real Madrid players chosen for the Euros and none made the squad for the September internationals. Maybe that is the key? If they can get Marco Asensio back to his best and reignite Isco this will filter through to the national team.
It could be the start of something very exciting for Spain. It could be a period when they plateau. It's just very difficult to decide. The jury remains hung until we see further evidence.