Spains fate at Unai Simons feet in Morocco clash
เวลา:2023-01-04 06:28

Alaafin of Oyo passes away at 83, after over 50 years on the throne

Spains fate at Unai Simons feet in Morocco clash

Spains hopes of winning a second World Cup trophy in Qatar lie in the hands - and feet - of goalkeeper Unai Simon.

Spains goalkeeper Unai Simon reacts as he attends a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on November 30, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Japan and Spain. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Spains hopes of winning a second World Cup trophy in Qatar lie in the hands - and feet - of goalkeeper Unai Simon.

Luis Enriques possession-based system demands a goalkeeper brave enough to distribute to nearby teammates, even when under immense pressure from opposition forwards.

Sometimes it goes woefully wrong, but the coach has kept his faith in Simon, no matter the criticism received after errors.

Simon survived scares against Germany in the 1-1 group stage draw, while he was at fault for Japans first goal in their shock 2-1 win over Spain on Thursday.

With Spain losing, for a few minutes La Roja was due to be eliminated.

They dodged that bullet when Germany triumphed, progressing in second place from Group E to set up Tuesdays last 16 clashes with Morocco.

Japan laid the blueprint for the North African nation to follow, with Spain malfunctioning completely when the Samurai Blue overloaded their system.

They scored two against us, and if they had needed two more, then they would have scored them too, Im sure, said coach Luis Enrique after the game.

With Spain 1-0 up and cruising against Japan at the start of the second half, Simon played the ball out to Alejandro Balde, who was immediately pressed and lost possession.

Ritsu Doan drove the loose ball past Simon at his near post from the edge of the box.

Simon got a hand on it and might have kept it out, with some claiming Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea would have saved the shot.

ITV pundit Gary Neville claimed Simon seemed a real weak point for La Roja, later advocating for De Gea.

However he was never likely to be selected, with Luis Enrique bringing David Raya from Brentford and Robert Sanchez of Brighton as Simons back-ups, two goalkeepers more comfortable with the ball at their feet and who create fewer headlines.

They will have low expectations of featuring, with Luis Enrique making it clear that the 25-year-old is his No 1.

If Unai didnt play well with his feet, he couldnt be the goalkeeper of the national team, said Luis Enrique after Spains draw with Germany.

Unai Simon has everything Spains goalkeeper needs.

Luis Enrique says when Simon errs it does not worry him, as long as he is carrying out the plan set for him.

The coachs explanations won over the Athletic Bilbao stopper, who emerged after Kepa Arrizabalaga left for Chelsea for a world record 71 million pound (87 million euro) fee for a goalkeeper.

He established himself in 2019 with Athletic, making his Spain debut a year later and being selected at Euro 2020.

Against Croatia, Simon let Pedris back-pass slip past his foot for a spectacular own goal, but redeemed himself with penalty saves against Switzerland in the quarter-finals.

Unfortunately for Spain, he could not repeat the trick against Italy in the semis and the Azzurri progressed.

Keeping hold of the No 1 jersey through that tournament ensured Simon bought further into Luis Enriques way of playing.

For me, its not a risk, said Simon ahead of the Japan clash.

This national team has known how to solve these situations multiple times, and thats how it will be.

Thats the idea that the coach wants, and hes convinced me of it, and I am comfortable with it.

Luis Enrique hinted his team might work on being a little more pragmatic with longer passes, accepting the Japan loss as a warning.

If against Morocco we have the fortune to go in front, Morocco will risk it all at full pelt again, said the coach.

This has to serve as a warning that this is going to happen.

Then again, given the coachs belief in his system, he may even ask Simon to double down on the existing strategy.

It could generate a tense situation, and the pressure will keep increasing in the knock-out games, added Simon.

This is how the national team plays. Ive got used to playing like this, Im confident in playing like this, and all the team is confident in me.

Elder statesman and Ijaw Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has endorsed Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) as his preferred candidate for Feb. 25 presidential poll.

Fuel siphoning causes Ogbomoso tanker explosion- Fire Service

The Oyo State Fire Service Agency says illicit activities of some members of the public, who were siphoning fuel from a fallen petroleum tanker, was responsible for the Sunday inferno in Ogbomoso.

Brazil says final farewell to King Pele

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva led the tributes Tuesday as Brazil said its final farewell to late football legend Pele, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. A flood of fans, politicians and football dignitaries turned out to pay their respects to the player known as The King in the southeastern city

Troops neutralise 4 terrorists, recover arms in Kaduna

Troops of Operation Forest Sanity have eliminated four terrorists and recovered arms and ammunition as well as other items in two encounters in Kaduna State.

Oxlade-Chamberlain says Liverpool not good enough in Brentford loss

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled no punches following Liverpools 3-1 loss at Brentford, saying the Reds just werent good enough. Mondays reverse left the Reds 15 points off top spot in the Premier League, with their title hopes hanging by a thread. Ibrahima Konates own goal and Yoane Wissas header put Brentford 2-0 up. Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his

Nigerias foreign trade data low for Africas single market roadmap

Nigerias trade in goods with the rest of Africa in about five years stood at N15.85 trillion, data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have shown. The figure covers 2018 till September this year. The value translates to 9.3 per cent of the countrys total foreign trade in the period, underscoring the low

Morocco weary, but not wilting as World Cup run continues Wednesday

When Wolves had one of the best defensive records in Europe last season and Romain Saiss seemed to be in the form of his life, Bruno Lage came up with a new nickname for an otherwise unheralded centre-back: The Moroccan Maldini, reports It may turn out the former Wolves manager was wrong. Because, for

Organisers list Davido for Qatar 2022 World Cup closing ceremony

Afrobeat star, Davido, is among world stars confirmed to perform live at the 2022 World Cup closing ceremony on Sunday in Qatar. Chinese businessman, Stephen Hung, announced in his Instagram handle that the N30 billion singer has confirmed that he will be performing at the closing event scheduled for December 18, 2022. So happy my

CAF expects Moroccos semifinal run to galvanise African football

Moroccos success in becoming the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals can galvanise the continent, according to one of African footballs top officials. The Atlas Lions beat Portugal 1-0 on Saturday to make history, and will now face defending champions France in the last four in Qatar on Wednesday. However, Veron Mosengo-Omba,

Morocco launches extra flights for World Cup fans

Moroccos national airline is laying on 30 extra return flights to jet euphoric fans to Qatar for Wednesdays historic World Cup semi-final against France.

Vengeance seeking Argentina battle Croatia as semifinals begin

Lionel Messis hope for a World Cup winners medal will get a big test today when Argentina confronts old enemy, Croatia, in the first semifinal match of the ongoing Qatar 2022 World Cup.