World Cup

Spain cannot make the same mistakes that led to Japan’s collapse, claims Rodri

According to Rodri Hernandez, Spain has learned from the 2-1 defeat to Japan that nearly cost them the World Cup and is conscious that they cannot afford to make the same mistakes against Morocco.

Spain finished second in the group after losing 2-1 to Japan in the final group match after the Asian team scored two quick goals. For three minutes, they were third after Costa Rica took the lead against Germany.

In the end, Germany’s victory over Costa Rica helped Spain, but Rodri acknowledged those three challenging minutes unnecessarily complicated their own match before they successfully advanced to the round of 16.

“Now a new competition is beginning. There is always analysis on what we can improve on, even after the games when we’ve played well,” Rodri told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game against Morocco who surprisingly topped Group F.

“The other day there weren’t that many things to improve on because it was a 10-minute collapse and this is what we have to do better. We’ve been warned that this cannot happen again.

“The coach has been clear, the players have assumed responsibility and we’re training happily, wanting to be in the next round and knowing that we can get there.”


Despite being a midfielder for Premier League champions Manchester City, Luis Enrique has used 26-year-old Rodri at center back for Spain at the World Cup.

“My role in the team is the same as any central defender, to pass out from the back, to give consistency and solidity to the team. Each player has a clear role,” Rodri said.

“I try to exploit my characteristics. I help to come out with the ball played from the back. Our opponents give us little space between the lines, so the central defender is very important in our scheme.

“We have a specific way of playing, creating superiority from the back… Our way of playing is to provide solutions and get the ball out from the back, but we know when we have to take risks and when not to.”

For the first time in 36 years, Morocco is among the final 16, and Rodri predicted they would be formidable rivals, especially Hakim Ziyech.

They have very good quality players and they work very well in a collective way, it will be a very tough and very even match. They knocked out Belgium. We should have a good day to beat them,” he said.

“(Ziyech) is a great player, he’s playing very well… Very dangerous when he shoots. But I think Morocco have great players, not just Ziyech.”

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