Alcacer roars back to life for Spain after wilderness years
MADRID, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Since the days of Raul and David Villa, Spain have not had a reliable striker to lead the line, but Paco Alcacer is making a strong case to be that player.
At the 2014 World Cup Spain picked Diego Costa, but the Atletico Madrid forward had a disappointing tournament and the same story played out again in Russia this year.
The Borussia Dortmund striker, on loan from Barcelona, has scored nine goals in five games for club and country in a sensational streak of form.
Against Ryan Giggs’s Wales side he opened the scoring with a curled effort after eight minutes and then finished lethally after beating a static defence to the ball in the 29th minute.
They were his first goals for Spain since Oct. 9, 2015, when he struck a brace for his country against Luxembourg in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
The 25-year-old notched five goals ahead of that tournament and was the team’s top goalscorer in qualifying, but the then-Valencia striker was omitted from the final squad by Vicente del Bosque.
Alcacer is determined to stay in Luis Enrique’s plans and believes the only way to do that is by maintaining his form.
"Goals are a question of form, confidence and having minutes, and training as hard as possible when things aren't going well,” Alcacer told reporters after the Wales match.
"To stay in the national team I have to maintain this dynamic.”
It is a different story now under Luis Enrique with Spain, as the coach rebuilds the squad following three failures at major tournaments after the 2010 World Cup win and Euro 2008 and 2012 triumphs.
Alcacer is determined to become an integral part of Spain’s new era. (Reporting by Rik Sharma Editing by Toby Davis)