Cesar Azpilicueta responds to claims Spain tried to eliminate Germany with Japan loss
Cesar Azpilicueta is adamant that Spain didn’t slack off in their defeat to Japan, insisting they gave their all to get a result.
Spain looked set to comfortably finish top of their World Cup group when Alvaro Morata gave them the lead 11 minutes into their final group stage game.
However, Japan turned things around at the start of the second half, getting two goals in three minutes to take the lead.
La Roja weren’t able to make a comeback themselves after that, meaning they finished second to Japan in the group and that Germany were knocked out.
It has been suggested Spain took their foot off the gas with qualification a near certainty, letting Japan back into the contest and perhaps ensuring Germany, a potential rival for the World Cup, didn’t make it to the round of 16.
However, Costa Rica’s two-minute spell where they had overtaken La Roja in the standings was cause for concern, and Azpilicueta denied that Spain didn’t give their all.
“I was aware in the second half [of the Germany score]; I was on the bench so I was aware of the situation,” Azpilicueta said.
“If they look at our group the last couple of years we always give everything and we go out of the pitch to win every game, to press every ball.
“We have been punished from just scoring a goal and then conceding straight away so that’s the way we play. We are the first disappointed to not win the game so you can see what happened.”
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He further insisted Spain focused on getting a draw at the least as they knew that would guarantee their progression.
“It was difficult because it is something that you cannot control, the other game, so the only thing we could do was to try to give confidence and to help our teammates to win our game. We knew that a draw or a win we would qualify. That’s the only thing we could control,” Azpilicueta added.