Monday, January 30

Qatar World Cup: “We can play one-on-one with anyone”


Jordi Alba, during a set in the match against Germany. / Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

After the intense duel with Germany, the Spanish players regret the opportunity to close the pass to the second round and keep their confidence “intact”

J. Gomez Pena

After the rout against Costa Rica came the draw against Germany when it seemed that Spain’s second victory was on track. And that left a certain bitter residue among the La Roja players, who exude ambition. Good symptom. “We are a little angry about the draw,” repeated Rodri, who once again acted as center back. He hurt the goal of the German match. “Inevitable? Well, it comes from our loss », he pointed out. Even so, Luis Enrique’s footballers maintain “confidence intact” in their possibilities. They are group leaders and depend on themselves. “We are a great team. We can play one-on-one with anyone,” encouraged Jordi Alba, who threw the pass that led to Morata’s goal.

Germany is a regular victim of the Spanish team. Since 1988, the German team has not won an official duel against La Roja. Among those memories, the Euro 2008 final stands out, with that goal by Fernando Torres that sealed the title for Spain and opened its golden age. This time, in Qatar, the German team risked almost their lives. A defeat practically left him out of the tournament. They came out with that pressure and with clenched teeth. “It is the level of the World Cup. They have pushed us and demanded a lot, “said Carvajal, who made his debut in this edition of the tournament.

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Germany, true, planted a train wreck, supported by its physical power. «We wanted to play, but the Germans covered man to man. And they force you to play like that,” Rodri described. «He is a rival who imposes those individual duels on you. But, well, that’s what awaits us in this World Cup against the great teams,” added the Manchester City player, who took a lesson from this draw: “This game will be good for us for the remainder of the championship.”

It was immediately seen that there were two high-level candidates on the field. Germany put together the figure well and covered the side cracks. Spain, with Pedri’s telescopic sight and the incursions of Dani Olmo, tried without aim to pierce the German approach. Throughout the first half the game offered equality. Two weight fighters. In the second part Morata came out and put Spain ahead. The Atlético forward recounted the goal like this: “It was an internship for Jordi Alba. I knew that Jordi was going to put the ball there for me and that I had to hit him first to surprise. He did it.

There, Germany was touched. “Yes,” Alba commented. We’ve had them shake for ten minutes. But it is not easy. They are a good team, with quality.” In Carvajal’s opinion, Spain lacked “some patience” in that phase of the clash. “Well, now it’s time to fix bugs,” he added. Lesson learned against Germany. “We -continued the Real Madrid side- we played this and today (yesterday) it has touched tails”.

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Japan is the next opponent in the third group game. Spain is worth a point. You can even qualify despite a defeat. No one in the team thinks about that second path to the round of 16. “Before Germany we were close to achieving the three points and already getting into the round of 16. It is the line to follow, “said Alba. From the other band, Carvajal joined that speech: «We are going to go out to win, as always, and to be first in the group. We have that confidence.” At that point, he conjured up all of his companions. «The ‘mister’ knows that he can trust the 26 players. We are all plugged in,” he assured.


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