Spain wants the ticket to dream

‘La Roja’ must forget the Japanese ‘scare’ before Morocco’s revelation to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since they emerged champion in 2010


The Spanish team will seek this Tuesday (4:00 p.m./La1) against Morocco to get their ticket to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar and continue dreaming as a candidate for the trophy, after the ‘scare’ against Japan and a long-suffering classification, while the Moroccan revelation will cling to the fortress as a block of one of its most technical generations to continue raising its roof.

The team coached by Luis Enrique makes its debut in the ‘all or nothing’ phase. The team began its World Cup journey with a 7-0 push against Costa Rica that removed the initial uncertainty and reinforced a somewhat subdued illusion before the tournament. In the first ‘level’ test in Qatar, Spain had a very competitive first half in the draw (1-1) against Germany, and a second half in which the team let themselves go.

They reached the third and final day of the group stage with everything in their face and depending on themselves, but panic and a Japanese ‘earthquake’ of barely three minutes made the Spanish proposal tremble. The national team lost (2-1) against Japan, but Germany’s victory against Costa Rica and the goal difference allowed them to advance to the round of 16 with more doubts and difficulties than expected, as second in Group E.

With no time to grieve and thinking of reinforcing the strong points of a young team, but hungry and with a lot of quality in the field phase where the matches are decided, Spain faces its first tie towards glory. The last defeat and the game displayed, somewhat poor, was a jug of cold water for Spanish aspirations, although it could also awaken a winning gene that has been dormant for many years.

And it is that the statistics in big events of the Spanish team are not very encouraging, since since they were proclaimed European champions in 2012 they have only added seven wins in 20 games. This represents 35 percent, after beating Australia (2014), Iran (2018) and Costa Rica (2022) in the World Cups, the Czech Republic and Turkey in EURO 2016, and Slovakia and Croatia, extra time in between. , in 2020.

This balance also includes the most recent duel with Morocco as a rival, when both teams tied (2-2) in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. games to continue or go home, but very convinced of our chances. The objective is, and has been from the beginning, to play seven games,” said Luis Enrique, who started in Spain’s last defeat against an African team -Nigeria , in 1998 (2-3)-.

As for the ‘eleven’, the Asturian would return to the chosen ones in the first duel against Costa Rica, with a non-negotiable Busquets-Pedri-Gavi trinomial. The two main doubts would be on the right side, with César Azpilicueta ‘touched’ by a blow to the soleus of his left leg, although with a better performance than Real Madrid player Dani Carvajal, who is emerging as the starter this Tuesday. Jordi Alba would return to the left lane to the detriment of the young Alejandro Balde.

Luis Enrique would recover the backbone formed by Unai Simón in goal, Laporte and Rodri as center backs, and with Dani Olmo on one of the sides. The other big unknown is whether the Leipzig player will be accompanied by Álvaro Morata -the top Spanish scorer in Qatar with three goals- and Marco Asensio, or if Ferran Torres has a place, despite losing prominence against Germany and Japan.


In front will be a Morocco that returns to the round of 16 36 years later, undefeated in Qatar and with the revelation poster of the tournament. The ‘Lions of the Atlas’ are the only African team that is still ‘alive’ in the World Cup, after advancing as first in a very demanding group, along with Canada, Croatia and Belgium.

After a hard-fought draw (0-0) against the ‘chess’ team in their debut, the Moroccans staged a surprise victory (0-2) against the Belgian ‘powder keg’ to bring their dream of qualifying closer. A company that they certified with a solvent victory against the North Americans (1-2), thanks to a technical and incisive style, as well as powerful.

Walid Regragui, coach for three months, has managed to put together a solid block thanks to the figure of the ‘covered’ Sofyan Amrabat, pivot that supports the rocky African gear. Although his greatest threat will be the sharp and skilled wingers Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal, accompanying Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri, who arrives with the upward arrow after his second goal in the World Cups -the first Moroccan to achieve it-.

“We are going to take the field with a winning mentality. We want to win but I have all the respect for and for Spain. We are in the round of 16 and it will be resolved in details. We must put aside the emotional part and get the best of ourselves. They have more experience, but we hope to blow up the surprise”, indicated the coach about stepping on the quarterfinals for the first time in his history, and with the sensitive doubt of the PSG winger Achraf Hakimi.



MARRUECOS: Bono; Achraf Hakimi, Aguerd, Saïss, Mazraoui; Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi; Ziyech, En-Nesyri and Boufal.

SPAIN: Unai Simón; Carvajal, Rodri, Laporte, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Pedri Gavi; Dani Olmo, Morata and Asensio.

— Referee: Fernando Rapallini (ARG).

–ESTADIO: Education City Stadium.

–TIME: 4:00 p.m./La1, World Goal and Movistar+.