Rodrigo issues warning after Spain qualify for Euro 2020, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Rodrigo issues warning after Spain qualify for Euro 2020

La Furia Roja's last-gasp hero says they must buck up before Euro 2020

A stuttering Spain qualified for Euro 2020 as a stoppage-time strike by substitute Rodrigo cancelled out Marcus Berg's opener for Sweden in a 1-1 draw in Group F yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The result left Spain top of the standings on 20 points and guaranteed a spot in the top two, with the Swedes second on 15, and Romania a point further back in third.

Yet, having drawn with both Norway and Sweden in their last two away matches, the Spaniards will have plenty of work to do if they want to be considered among the favourites at next year's tournament, reported Reuters.

Said Valencia striker Rodrigo: "We need to improve, that is very clear.

"If we do not start winning more games, then our abilities will be questioned.

"That criticism would be logical and we must work harder as we prepare for next summer.

"At times tonight, we needed to be more incisive with our play.

"We need to be able to play more direct if we have to.

"We have taken a little longer to qualify, but we are happy.

"But it is a long road ahead."

With captain Sergio Ramos suspended following his yellow card in their last game against Norway, Spain started superbly, pinging the ball from side to side and probing for openings behind the Swedish defence.

Thiago Alcantara could have put the visitors ahead early on but, after rounding the goalkeeper, he miscontrolled the ball and it rolled out for a goal kick.

Midfielder Rodri had a stinging shot saved shortly afterwards and it looked to be only a matter of time before the Spaniards made the breakthrough, but with goalkeeper Robin Olsen in superb form, the Swedes adjusted and began to grow into the game.


Fullback Mikael Lustig had their first shot on target in the 27th minute and striker Robin Quaison followed it up with a brilliant header that Spain goalkeeper David de Gea clawed away for a corner.

With light rain falling throughout the game, players struggled to keep their footing in the Friends Arena.

Striker Berg put Sweden in front early in the second half after his initial header was saved, as was Emil Forsberg's shot, but Berg nodded home from close range at the second attempt to give his side the lead.

De Gea left the fray injured on the hour mark and, despite dominating possession throughout, Spain found it almost impossible to create the kind of chances they had enjoyed in the opening exchanges.

The crowd of over 49,000 were in fine voice as they ignored the damp weather with the final whistle approaching, but Rodrigo silenced them by rifling home a corner to send Spain through.

Said La Furia Roja coach Robert Moreno: "I am very happy, the players were very good and we met a very strong rival. It was tough for us, but we corrected what needed to be corrected...

"People who may have doubts about me have to end up backing (me).

"As much as they like me or not, I am the coach and it is what it is. It is sad to think that there are people who don't want me to do well."

Sweden coach Janne Andersson, meanwhile, said he was happy with his players, despite them conceding a late goal.

He said: "That's football, it happens sometimes. I can't sit here and be annoyed with players who have given everything."

Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos, however, was less sanguine.

He clashed with Kristoffer Olsson several times during the match, with both earning yellow cards after a confrontation 10 minutes from time.

Olsson, who largely outshone the Arsenal man, told Swedish media: "He said to me to stop acting like I was (Lionel) Messi.

"I can't remember what I said back. I thought it was strange.

"I don't understand what he really meant."


  • Romania 1 Norway 1
  • Faroe Islands 1 Malta 0