Is there a future without a pure number nine?
Spain started the game against Italy without a pure striker. Instead Cesc Fàbregas played in a false nine position, dropping off in a midfield position most of the time. I do think that this tactic can be very effective, but it requires players that constantly run into the box (like Fabregas actually are doing from his normal midfield position). Spain does not have that kind of players in their starting eleven. Therefore, I think they need to play a more classic number nine (Torres or Llorente) that holds the offensive line high and suggests a threat behind the defensive line of the opposition. It will be interesting to see if they change their starting eleven for tomorrow’s game against Ireland.
So, yes I can absolutely see teams playing without pure strikers. But that fits better for teams with great counter-attack players.
EDIT: Just realised that zonalmarking.net’sMichael Cox posted a more elaborate post about Spain’s tactics. His conclusions are the same as mine.