Rodri aims a bitter dig at Morocco for offering ‘ABSOLUTELY NOTHING’ in their historic World Cup triumph over Spain… insisting their opponents ‘just waited for counters’ before prevailing on penalties
- Rodri criticised Morocco’s counter-attacking tactics after Spain’s World Cup exit
- Spain dominated possession against Morocco but only had one shot on target
- Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed penalties for Spain
- Morocco will face Portugal after reaching a maiden World Cup quarter-final
- Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results
Spain midfielder Rodri has hit out at Morocco’s tactics during their World Cup last-16 tie, with the star claiming the North Africans offered ‘absolutely nothing’ despite booking their place in the quarter-finals by winning 3-0 victory on penalties.
Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed from the spot for Spain as Morocco triumphed in the penalty shootout at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.
The result saw Morocco become the first Arab nation to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Rodri criticised Morocco’s tactics during the last-16 match, insisting they offered ‘nothing’
The defeat marked Spain’s third consecutive major tournament exit on penalties, after losing to hosts Russian in the last-16 of the 2018 World Cup, before being beaten by Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-final.
Rodri has criticised the tactics employed by Morocco throughout the match, with the Manchester City midfielder claiming the African nation just ‘waited for counters’ during the 120 minutes.
‘Morocco offered absolutely nothing, without disrespecting them,’ Rodri said, according to the Daily Express.
‘In the game, they did nothing.
‘They just waited for the counters. They stayed behind and tried to counter us.’
Rodri claimed the last-16 elimination marked one of his worst days in football
Spain finished the match having had 77 per cent possession, completing 1,019 passes to Morocco’s 304.
The 2010 World Cup winners failed to regularly trouble the Moroccan goal despite their dominance of the ball, recording 13 shots in the match with only one on target.
Morocco finished the last-16 tie having had six shots, with two on target.
Sarabia had gone closest to breaking the deadlock moments before penalties, volleying against the outside of the post in stoppage time at the end of extra time.
Spain missed all three penalties to exit a third straight major tournament via a shootout
Morocco became the first African nation to reach the World Cup quarter-finals since 2010
Spain have now suffered three consecutive early exits since lifting the World Cup in 2010, with their title defence ending in the group stage in Brazil in 2014.
La Roja’s 2018 and 2022 campaigns have both ended in the last-16, despite beginning matches against Russia and Morocco as favourites to reach the last eight.
Rodri, who had played throughout the World Cup in central defence, claimed Spain deserved to advance to the quarter-finals.
The 26-year-old admitted the defeat was among his ‘worst days’ in football.
‘They were very clear about how they wanted to play,’ he told RTVE. ‘There’s not much more to say, penalties are like that.
‘We’re going home, it’s one of the worst days.
‘We expected eleven guys behind, it’s complicated, it’s frustrating. I wish someone up there would have helped us.
‘Football is cruel sometimes. The team gave it our all, I think we deserved to go through.’
Pablo Sarabia hit the post at the end of extra time before striking the woodwork in the shootout
Spain boss Luis Enrique insisted despite the defeat that his side ‘executed my idea of football perfectly’, while it emerged earlier in the week that he had given his squad the homework of taking 1,000 penalties before the World Cup more than a year ago.
The penalty shootout triumph continued Morocco’s stunning World Cup, with the North Africans having previously only won two of their 16 games during their five previous appearances at the World Cup.
The Atlas Lions will now target becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals when they face Portugal in the last eight on Saturday at 3pm (GMT).
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