The Mexico World Cup legend Hugo Sanchez has suggested that Spain deliberately lost to Japan in order to avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals.
The former Real Madrid forward who played in three World Cups for Mexico was asked by an ESPN presenter: ‘You are assuring me that Spain looked for this result to avoid Brazil?’
And as reported by Diario AS the former striker said: ‘I assure you. I was not there and I’m not in the mind of Luis Enrique but he had thought about what was the best way to avoid playing Brazil in the quarter-finals. Yes there is a risk but it’s a risk worth taking. It’s not that they fear Brazil but they respect them.’
When fellow pundits raised eyebrows at the suggestion Sanchez added: ‘The coach is never going to admit it. Managers don’t say: I let them win.’
The claim is not being taken seriously in Spain especially in view of the controversial way the team went behind against Japan and their desperate – albeit failed – attempts to get back into the game.
Read Also: 2022 Year Of Suffering – UN Official
Luis Enrique was asked before the game about Spain losing to Japan to secure second spot but he flagged up the possibility of Costa Rica winning saying: ‘We have asked ourselves that question but from a professional point of view you can imagine it being 0-0 in both games on minute 95 and Japan score and Costa Rica score and we’re out.’