Ferran Torres rued the “external factors” that he felt cost Spain in their shock penalty shoot-out defeat to Morocco in the last 16 of the World Cup.
La Roja crashed out in the round of 16 for the second successive finals, as Yassine Bounou produced a heroic display with Morocco triumphing 3-0 on penalties after a goalless draw.
Luis Enrique’s men dominated proceedings, enjoying over 77 per cent of possession over the 120 minutes, but were subsequently made to pay for not converting that superiority after creating just one shot on target, with Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all off target in the shoot-out.
Spain consequently became the first nation to lose four World Cup penalty shoot-outs, but Torres insists he and his team-mates could not have done more.
4 – Spain have lost four of their five penalty shootouts at the World Cup (vs Belgium 1986, vs Korea Republic 2002, vs Russia 2018 and vs Morocco 2022), more than any other team in the history of the tournament. Pressure.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose)
“We gave everything from minute one to 120,” he said. “We have not been successful in front of goal. It was difficult, they locked themselves in, they have played that way, and the chances we had were not clear at all.
“We have frustration, because we have been superior, we have not been able to materialise the opportunities we have had, and there have been external factors that have not helped us.
“We had been practising the penalties because we knew they were games of 120 [minutes] plus penalties. But we continue working for the future.”
Marcos Llorente concurred “it was very complicated” to create opportunities to break down a resolute Morocco, who became the fourth African nation to reach the quarter-finals after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).
Rodri added: “We haven’t been right on penalties, and we’re going home. I don’t know what else to say, I wish someone up there had helped us with penalties. The team has given everything, and we deserved to pass.”