Luis Enrique has revealed that he didn’t know Spain were on the brink of World Cup elimination during their final group match with Japan.

Spain headed into the game in a strong position, knowing a draw would guarantee them progression to the last 16 and that a win would guarantee them top spot.

They made the perfect start to the match with Alvara Morata giving La Roja the lead in the 11th minute, but things got far less comfortable in the second half.

Japan scored two goals in three minutes to take the lead in the game and in the wider group. Meanwhile in the other match, Costa Rica went in front against Germany.

At that point, Spain were going out of the World Cup, but while they weren’t able to save themselves, eventually losing 2-1 to Japan, Germany did it for them by turning it around against Costa Rica. That result ensured Enrique and co. made it through in second place behind Japan.

Despite the situation, there was never a sense of urgency or panic from the Spain dugout, and that’s because they weren’t aware of what was happening in the other match.

If they did, the manager has admitted that he wouldn’t have been able to keep his cool.

“I was not following the other game, just focused in my game,” Enrique said afterwards. “What I say is honest – I just came here to win today’s game. I want my team to play its very best, and keep improving. If I’d known we were out, I’d have had a heart attack.”

Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!


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