Spain are working out just how such a promising World Cup side has had to exit the World Cup at the Round of 16, following more penalty shootout heartbreak. It was the second World Cup in a row they have done so, and the third major tournament in a row that has ended up with a defeat on penalties.
“Were you watching the game? Where have you been, with your back turned? If we have done anything, it was dominating the game. We can be blamed for having generated few chances. We lacked the goal. I am more than satisfied with what my team has done, who have executed my idea of football perfectly. I am proud of them. Bono was spectacular and I wish Morocco the best.”
Asked if Spain lacked anything, but seemed to put the blame on his system rather than his selection of players.
“I am very happy with the profile of players that I have. They are the ones that I have chosen and I will go to the death with them. I congratulate my players for how they have competed. We are sorry for not having been able to reward the fans.”
The Asturian manager was typically matter of fact in defeat, refusing to be drawn into grand statements. He did however have one regret.
“This is sport. The players have carried out 100% of the instructions I have given them. But that’s it, it’s no use thinking about it. I have nothing to reproach the players for. I only have a regret with one player, which is Pablo Sarabia. I put him on to take a penalty and on top of that he gave me two chances. That was a mistake, he showed me that he deserved more minutes in this match.”
La Roja looked like one of the most promising national teams in world football coming into the tournament, but this defeat plunges the entire project into uncertainty. Luis Enrique’s contract is up after the World Cup and he would not be drawn on his future either.
If ‘Lucho’ does decide to continue, he will no doubt be questioned with even sharper words than he already has been.