'I would have had a heart attack' – Luis Enrique 'didn't know' Spain were briefly out

Spain coach Luis Enrique during his side's 2-1 defeat to Japan at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spain coach Luis Enrique claims he was unaware that La Roja were momentarily eliminated from the 2022 World Cup on Thursday night.

Luis Enrique's side scored early against Japan but conceded twice at the start of the second half to go 2-1 behind and in Group E's other game, Costa Rica overturned a one-goal deficit to lead Germany by the same scoreline.

That scenario provisionally put Costa Rica in the last 16 alongside Japan, with Spain and Germany both heading home – although it was short-lived as Kai Havertz levelled three minutes later and Hansi Flick's side went on to win 4-2.

In his post-match press conference, Luis Enrique said: "We were knocked out for three minutes?" I was not paying attention to the other match, when did that happen? I didn't know that.

"I'm not happy because we were beaten by Japan. If I had known, I would have had a heart attack."

In the end, Spain advanced in second place behind Japan as Germany and Costa Eica went out and La Roja will play Morocco in the last 16, but Luis Enrique was in no mood to celebrate.

"In football you deserve it or not and we didn't deserve it," he said. "I'm not happy at all. I would have liked to be on top and win but in five minutes Japan scored two. We were dismantled.

"We didn't have any danger in the first half and then at half-time I told them to be cautious because they had nothing to lose. We collapsed and they could have scored two more goals. I'm not happy at all.

"I never celebrate defeats so we have nothing to celebrate. We have qualified but I have nothing to celebrate."

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.