The Hispano-Malian winger has been one of the big disappointments of Euro 2020 so far
Spain may have reached the semi-finals of the European Championships, but wideman Adama Traore has been a peripheral figure to date.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers speedster has featured for just 13 minutes so far this tournament, and has struggled to assert himself in this Spain side as they’ve reached the final four.
To make the point even more pertinently, Traore’s brief cameo to date came in the final stages of the 5-0 demolition of Slovakia at the Estadio Olimpico de la Cartuja, by which point La Roja were already five goals to the good and the game was comfortably wrapped up.
Remarkably, however, Traore registered three completed dribbles in his 13-minute cameo—more than any other player managed in the entirety of the match.
While the winger caught the eye with his ability to beat a man, he was unable to fashion a goalscoring opportunity—for himself or his teammates—during his brief showing.
He hasn’t been used since, sitting out the Last 16 victory over Croatia and the quarter-final triumph over Switzerland.
Despite scoring 10 goals across back-to-back fixtures against Slovakia and Croatia, Spain are arguably fortunate to have reached the last four.
They started the season slowly, and then had a series of dismal Swiss penalties to thank for advancing past Nati.
For a player who has the potential to be one of the most eye-catching stars in the tournament due to his footwork, physicality, dribbling ability and pace, it’s bitterly disappointing that he’s been used to sparingly this tournament.
What makes things even more underwhelming is that it could have all been so different for Traore, who had appeared to be primed to switch to Mali as recently as late 2019.
The winger was pictured holding up a Mali shirt—an indication that he was converting to the Eagles—and may well have made his international debut for the West Africans in March 2020 had the coronavirus pandemic not cancelled this particular window of fixtures.
By the time international football returned in late 2020, Traore had been approached by Spain again, a result of his excellent form for Wolves in the top flight.
After pulling out of the squad in August 2020 after a positive Covid-19 diagnosis (it ultimately proved to be a false positive), he made his debut in October against Portugal.
Having featured against Switzerland in a Nations League game last year, he is now cap-tied to Spain, and—under current Fifa rules at least—cannot convert to Mali.
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