Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Spain takes penalty seriously before Morocco

DOHA ( Associated Press) — Spain coach Luis Enrique gave his team a unique assignment after losing on penalties to Elia in last year’s Euro Cup semifinal.

“More than a year ago, at a rally, I told the players: ‘Gentlemen, you have homework. Each one must come up with a thousand penalties taken on their teams,’ Luis Enrique recalled on Monday. “Most would have done their homework.”

Although Spain do not want their World Cup round of 16 clash against Morocco to be defined by penalties on Tuesday, at least they are sure they are ready to face that eventuality.

Spain also succumbed in a shootout from the 12th stage in the round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup against hosts Russia.

Luis Enrique said, “For me it’s not a lottery, you have to show your quality at the moment of maximum tension and to endure that says a lot about each player.” “It’s less and less lucky. It can be trained, it’s manageable”.

Ferran Torres converted a penalty for Spain in a 7–0 win on debut against Costa Rica.

Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simeone saves two shots in a penalty shootout win over Switzerland ahead of their Euro 2020 match against Italy.

“The goalkeeper has influence. We have a very good goalkeeper who dominates that position of the game”, he indicated.

Morocco has been one of the great revelations of the tournament after coming out first in a tough group. It was ahead of last World Cup runners-up Croatia and 2018 semi-finalists Belgium.

The North African national team conceded just one goal in their three group games and have a lot of support in Qatar, as they are the last of the four Arab teams – and also the last from Africa – following Senegal’s exit. against England on Sunday.

“Everyone wants to come to Doha,” said Moroccan coach Walid Regragui, who took charge of the team in August. “We could fill two stadiums.”

As close neighbors, Morocco and Spain also share many ties.

Moroccan goalkeeper Yassin Bounou and striker Youssef En-Nesri play for Sevilla in Spain. Paris Saint-Germain’s talented right-back Achraf Hakimi was born in Madrid. Regaragui played in Spain with Racing Santander.

Many of the Moroccan players speak Spanish and their medical staff are Spanish.

Luis Enrique said, “The relations with Morocco are excellent, many Moroccans live in Spain and we get along well.” “to enjoy what the appointment of this capacity means”.

Spain faced Morocco at the end of the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, a match that ended in a 2–2 draw.

“They play in possession, which is something that complicates the opponent, but also the people who watch,” Regargui said. “Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck until the players get tired.”

As an inspiration, Morocco takes as an example Japan’s victory against Spain at the last date of the group stage, when Japan had only 17% possession.

“We need to have courage. We need to accept that they are going to dominate possession,” Regargui said. Spain will not know what to do with so much possession. That will be our plan.”

The winner will play either Portugal or Switzerland for a place in the semi-finals.

Nation World News Desk
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