Man City’s Rodri slams ‘rubbish’ Scotland tactics after Spain’s shock loss: ‘This is not football’
Rodri blasted Scotland’s “rubbish” tactics after Spain fell to an unexpected defeat in their Euro ’24 qualifier at Hampden Park.
Scott McTominay scored twice, his second brace in the space of three days, as Scotland earned their first win over Spain since 1984 to make it six points out of six at the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
It was a fractious encounter, with both sets of players keen to go to ground at every opportunity and Scotland doing everything they could in the second half to slow things down and tick away the seconds.
There were several confrontations throughout the match, with one between Andy Robertson and Pedro Porro resulting in the Tottenham man having his every touch booed by the Tartan Army before he was replaced at half-time.
This was just the third time Spain have been beaten in a qualifying match since 2006, and their first in European qualification for nine years, but they remain strong favourites to top Group A and comfortably book their place in Germany next summer.
However, Rodri, the Spanish captain, was less than impressed with what he perceived to be Scotland’s time-wasting tactics, and the referee’s response to it, as he slammed Steve Clarke’s side after the match in an explosive TV interview.
“It’s the way they play - for me, it’s a bit rubbish,” the Manchester City midfielder told Viaplay.
“It’s always wasting time, they provoke you, they always fall. For me, this is not football.
“The referee has to take a part in this, but he said nothing. It’s a bit frustrating because we want to win and it’s difficult because they waste time, waste time.
“It is what it is. They have their weapons, we have our weapons, and we will learn for next time.”
Manager Steve Clarke believes Scotland have put their mark on their Euro 2024 qualifying group but cautioned against looking too far ahead.
The Scots are top of Group A with six points from six.
The momentous result against Spain was helped further by the 1-1 draw between Norway and Georgia – June’s opponents – earlier in the day.
The Scotland boss said: “You don’t qualify with six points. There’s a long way to go.
“We’re really pleased with the performance – two good performances over the nine days we’ve been together.
“It was important to capitalise on the two home games as much as we could and we’ve managed to get maximum points.
“All the credit goes to the players. We had 16 players on the pitch and none of them let us down. The seven players in the stand were every bit as happy as everyone else was.
“We have a good group but we’re working hard to get better and better and tonight was a chance to put our mark on the group.
“We wanted to be competitive against a top team and that’s what we did. It certainly should give the players a bit more belief when we come up against these top seeds.
That’s the last two top seeds – Denmark (in World Cup qualifiers) and Spain – who have come to Hampden and left with no points.
“But it’s very important we stay grounded because there’s still a long way to go in the group.”
Clarke was happy to see his side take advantage of a slip by Tottenham defender Pedro Porro to allow Scotland captain Andy Robertson to cut the ball back for McTominay to fire in the first goal.
He said: “We knew it would be a night when Spain would have a lot of the ball, so it was important that when we had the ball we had to capitalise on the moments. We did that.
“If you look at the statistics, they were very similar in terms of shots at goal, shots on target.
“We got a little bit fortunate when their defender slipped but we capitalised on the moment. It’s very important that if the opposition make mistakes you capitalise on it, especially against the top sides.
“It wasn’t an easy game. I have spoken to a lot of the players in there and they are very tired mentally and physically. You have to think a lot against Spain because the movement is good. The way they play is very clever.
“I think tonight was just our night so we look forward to the rematch in October.”
It was a first defeat in his second game as Spain boss for Luis de la Fuente but he was not too downhearted.
He said: “The game went how we thought it would. It was a difficult game. We had a plan and stuck to it.
“In the first half we had a couple of chances to score but in the end it came down to the small details.
“Overall I’m satisfied by what I saw on the pitch. I think there is hope for the future.
“It doesn’t change our overall plan. There are six games left and we are going to go for it.
“There are no easy games in this group and we have to keep on working and improving.
“It’s still too early to predict who is going to win the group. Scotland have a very powerful team, good individuals. There is a long way to go and anything can happen between now and the end. I am confident in my team.”