Lopetegui ‘would prefer top seed’

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui admits “if you ask me what I prefer, I’ll say that we’re among the top seeds” in the World Cup draw.

Spain beat Israel 1-0 on Monday to give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding an elite nation in their World Cup group, but La Roja are behind eight teams in the FIFA ranking and still need other results to go their way.

“Some players not good enough? I don’t agree, otherwise they wouldn’t have qualified so brilliantly,” the Coach said after the game.

“We knew it was going to be difficult for many reasons. They were extremely motivated and played well, and we didn’t know how to break them down in the first half.

“We looked for solutions in the second, and they appeared. When you don’t score the first goal quickly, everything becomes complicated, but ultimately we picked up the three points.

“We must congratulate the players for a brilliant qualification and because of how they faced the game, having already qualified.

“Politics in Spain? We’re sportspeople and politics is a long way from our understanding. I have nothing more to say about that.

“World Cup’s most difficult team? All the teams can play. I can’t single out one team, but it’ll certainly be a complicated and difficult group for us.

“Israel are very good technically and have a lot of quality. If they have the ball, they know how to put combinations together.

“They’re one of the best teams that we’ve faced in this group. Starting Ramos? It was my decision. When I pick a team, I look at a lot of things.

“We had a lot of different players, but I thought Sergio was fine and had to play. This pitch? We have very good memories of it and hopefully that’ll remain the case.

“Seeded? We always want to win, regardless of whether there’s an objective like this. If you ask me what I prefer, I’ll say that we’re seeded.

“Still, regardless of whether we are or not, it’ll be a very complicated group and we’ll have to approach each game as if it were the last.

“We deserve to be at the World Cup, but being seeded no longer depends on us.”

Tags 2018 World Cup Israel Julen Lopetegui Spain