Spain denies intentional defeat by Japan
Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales has denied rumors that his country intentionally beat Japan 2-1 at the end of the group stage to avoid taking the lead, with the aim of avoiding a quarter-final encounter with Brazil. as well as to eliminate the rival Germany.
Spain finished second in Group E on four points, surpassing Germany, who were eliminated early in the tournament on goal difference, while Japan surprisingly came out on top in Qatar on six points.
And that arrangement caused Spain to face Morocco in the Round of 16 and if they win they face Portugal or Switzerland and so they only face Brazil in the final if the two teams go on in the tournament.
But the lead would have put Spain on the side of the draw, which includes Brazil, Argentina and Croatia.
Fans and analysts, including Hugo Sanchez, one of Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers, believed the loss to Japan was intentional, despite Spain being threatened with elimination within minutes due to the result of the other group game between Germany and Costa Rica for same time.
Mexico’s Sanchez told ESPN: “I confirm that (Spain’s coach) Luis Enrique has been thinking of a way to avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals, it’s a dangerous confrontation but he will never admit it, no coach will say he the victory didn’t want it”.
But Rubiales denied this speculation.
He said in an interview with Qatar Cup TV Network: “I never believe that. I know the coaching staff very well. We fought for the lead but it wasn’t possible.” In football there is no place for calculations or mathematics, we just think about every game and in the round of 16 we face a really difficult team, namely Morocco, who due to the massive support of the fans play almost at home in Qatar.
More than one player also defended the team in Spain, including midfielder Pedri.
“We didn’t think about future confrontations. We tried to equalize to avoid problems and finish the group at the top, but we didn’t succeed,” said the young Barcelona player.
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