Luis Enrique claims Spain took 1,000 penalties in training to avoid World Cup exit, it epically backfired after Morocco win
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Luis Enrique’s bid to see Spain avoid a World Cup exit in a penalty shootout epically backfired after Morocco’s stunning upset in the last 16 on Tuesday.
Morocco shocked the world by keeping Spain at bay through regular playing time and extra-time to force the round-of-16 tie to a penalty shootout.
Morocco, on the other hand, saw Abdelhamid Sabiri, Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech successfully convert their penalties, with only Badr Benoun missing his spot-kick effort.
Walid Regragui’s men, who reached the last eight for the first time in their history, will face the winner of Portugal vs Switzerland on Saturday in the quarter-finals.
Speaking ahead of the defeat to Morocco, Enrique claimed that his side needed to do their “homework” and were relentlessly practising penalties.
In fact, the Spain boss insisted that the 2010 World Cup champions took at “least 1,000 penalties” in training, but it didn’t pay off for the penalty shootout exit against Morocco.
“I imagine that they have done their homework. Over a year ago, in one of the Spain camps, I told them they had to get here with at least 1,000 penalties taken,” Enrique told reporters.
“If you wait until getting here to practise penalties... [it won’t be enough].
“It’s a moment of maximum tension, a time to show your nerve and that you can shoot the penalty in the way you have decided, if you have trained it a thousand times.
“It says a lot about each player. It’s trainable, manageable, how you manage the tension.
“It’s increasingly less luck -- the goalkeepers have more influence. We have a very good goalkeeper, any of the three can do very well in this situation.
“Every time we finish training, I see a lot of players taking penalties.”