Spain ended up sitting far more uncomfortably than they might have predicted against Japan in their final group game, with a ten-minute spell occurring where they were exiting the World Cup at the group stage. As disappointing as Spain were in that match, forward Alvaro Morata has seen the silver lining from the situation.
La Roja were cruising going into half-time against Japan, but a ten-minute blitz inspired by Ritsu Doan left Luis Enrique’s side floundering. After the match, their coach accused his side of going into ‘collapse mode’ after the break.
With a few days perspective, striker Alvaro Morata explained that he was seeing the bright side of their defeat to Diario AS.
“Sometimes it’s not so bad that something like this happens, because when you see everything clearly… If they had hit us in the round of 16, we would have been crying for four years. You have to think that it has already happened, that it was a mess on our part and that Japan were good.”
“What you have to think about is that the failure occurred when there was still a chance to remedy it, in the group stage. And to think that we are in the playoffs thanks to the great result against Costa Rica, which seemed easy…”
As Germany demonstrated, getting a reprieve after a single defeat is not the norm in the World Cup. Morata likely has a point, that it should serve as a wake up call to La Roja ahead of the Morocco match – should they have ended up winning against Japan, it would have been more difficult for Luis Enrique to convey the dangers that were exposed against the Samurai Blue.
Equally, it is only a wake up call if Spain can follow it with a reaction.