Spain coach Roberto Moreno paid tribute to goalkeeper David De Gea after watching his side ease to a 4-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in Euro 2021 qualifying Group F.
De Gea was handed his first start in four games after being usurped as first choice by Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga since Moreno replaced Luis Enrique as national coach.
And the Manchester United player got a surprise chance to prove his worth as the Faroes created a number of opportunities, including a 73rd-minute effort from Joannes Bjartalid which De Gea saved well.
Moreno told Spanish media: “We must all celebrate De Gea’s big save, just as we celebrated Kepa’s in Romania the other day. It raises competition and is very good.
“We trust David a lot. We always say that players in their careers go through good and bad moments.
“The other day Kepa did very well, and today it was David’s turn. This will be the case for the national team – sometimes it will be one and sometimes it will be the other.”
Moreno was pleased with a win which maintained Spain’s 100 per cent record in the group, despite gloss being added to the scoreline by two late goals from Paco Alcacer following Rodrigo’s early double.
Moreno added: “This has been a good week because we have increased competition in the squad, we have full points and we have scored four goals, so I am happy.
“It is extremely difficult to play against teams like the Faroe Islands, with 11 players in the area, but in the end we were pretty good.
“The objective is almost achieved. You have to keep growing as a group and today was a match to show you want to be a part of the national team – and the players have shown it.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Joachim Low has demanded a reaction from his young Germany team against Group C leaders Northern Ireland on Monday after their recent resurgence was cut short by their Euro 2020 qualifying 4-2 defeat to the Netherlands.
Having come into the international break on a wave of optimism, Low’s side now travel to Belfast on Monday needing a win to keep their qualification campaign on course against a Northern Irish side yet to drop a point in four qualifying matches.
“We need to win, we need to approach the game in such a way that we leave the pitch as winners,” said Low on Friday.
Germany had just begun to find their feet after a long period of recovery from their disastrous campaign at last year’s World Cup.
The group stage exit in Russia prompted a major generational overhaul, and after three wins in a row in 2019, Low’s new-look young team were full of confidence ahead of Friday’s game.
Victory over the Dutch would have put second-placed Germany nine points clear of their rivals and left Germany on the brink of automatic qualification.
Instead, they now find themselves only three points above the play-off place, having played a game more than the Netherlands.
“We will need to pick the young players up a bit and give them the feeling that they can be stronger. I am sure we will see a reaction on Monday,” said Low.
The Germany coach, who was criticised for playing with a back three and allowing his team to sit deep against the Netherlands, also said that he would make tactical changes against Northern Ireland.
“Northern Ireland are amazingly robust, they play a lot of long balls. They will sit deeper and we will not have much space, so we need to think of something tactically,” he said.
Low defended his tactics, yet the German media remained critical on Saturday.
Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel warned that “lessons must be learned” from the defeat to the Netherlands, while the country’s biggest tabloid Bild said that “alarm bells” were now ringing around the qualification campaign.
Kicker magazine claimed there was “no need to panic yet”, but Germany captain Manuel Neuer warned his side against complacency ahead of their visit to Belfast.
“We know that anything can happen in football, we experienced that ourselves in 2018, so it is important we take this game seriously,” he told Bild newspaper.
“It is not ideal for us to be playing an away game in Belfast right now. They have won all their games so far and it is always difficult to score goals against such opponents.”
Holland head coach Ronald Koeman hailed a “great evening” after the Dutch recorded their first win in Germany for almost 17 years.
Late goals from debutant Donyell Malen and Georginio Wijnaldum sealed a 4-2 victory in Hamburg which puts Koeman’s side right back in contention in Group C qualifying for next year’s European Championship.
Not since November 2002 had Holland beaten their neighbours in their own back yard. That day, they enjoyed a 3-1 success thanks to goals from Patrick Kluivert, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
The win moved the Dutch to within three points of second-placed Germany with a game in hand.
“It is a great evening and we have won very well,” Koeman told onsoranje.nl.
“The difference was that we did more to get the win and it makes the world of difference in the group.
“It is very nice that you know how to win here. We still have to play five games, so we are not there yet. But it makes the road a bit easier.”
Serge Gnabry’s early goal saw Germany lead at half-time but Frenkie De Jong’s strike and a Jonathan Tah own goal turned the game on its head just before the midway point of the second half.
A controversial penalty scored by Toni Kroos levelled things up before Malen quickly restored Holland’s lead with 11 minutes remaining and Wijnaldum made sure of victory in injury time.
Koeman was pleased with the resilience his team showed to come back from a goal down.
“I found Germany very expectant. They have one weapon and that is speed and it can become 2-0 at 1-0,” he said.
“The Germans were just tired in the second half. They didn’t look as good as in the first half, but they had good chances.
“There is faith in this team and that was the message at half time. We said stay in the game, don’t open things up, because there is always a chance of a goal.”
The defeat leaves Germany three points behind group leaders Northern Ireland, who they play next on Monday in Belfast.
Head coach Joachim Low felt Holland deserved to win on the night.
He told www.dfb.de: “I’m disappointed with the result. Netherlands were the better team over the course of 90 minutes. We deserve to lose.
“Unfortunately, I never felt like we had the game under control. We lost too many balls going forward and we never got into the dangerous areas.
“In the second half, the Netherlands applied a lot more pressure, we couldn’t play out way out. Manuel Neuer received a lot of passes and that’s not the game understanding we want to have.”
Provided by Press Association Sport