Luis Enrique set his Spain squad homework of practicing 1,000 penalties at their clubs ahead of World Cup 2022

Spain Luis Enrique world Cup 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Coming into World Cup 2022, Spain manager Luis Enrique tried preparing his players for a penalty shootout by making them practice 1,000 penalties while still playing for their clubs. 

However, this practice clearly didn't pay off during their last 16 clash against Morocco on Tuesday, with the shootout finishing 3-0 to the African side - Sergio Busquets, Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler all missing their strikes from 12 yards. 

"Over a year ago, in many national camps we told players, 'You have homework ahead of the World Cup. You must take at least 1,000 penalties with the club'. You can't just train them when they're with the national team'," Luis Enrique told reporters on Monday.

"I don't think it's a lottery. If you train often, then the way you take penalties improves. Obviously, you can't train the pressure and tension, but you can cope with it.

"It doesn't depend on luck, the goalkeeper is key in the shootout. All three of our keepers are good at them. In our sessions we have players taking penalty kicks, it's homework we've taken into account."

Enrique came into the game convinced his players would be able to handle the pressures of a shootout, should the game go the distance. This homework didn't come to fruition, though, clearly their squad unable to handle the occasion against Morocco.

At last year's European Championship, Spain were involved in two shootouts, beating Switzerland in the quarter-finals before they were knocked out by eventual champions Italy in the semis. Spain also lost at the 2018 World Cup in the last 16 to Russia on penalties. 

"I couldn't care less about the result," Enrique explained on Monday, though. "I want to control what I can control as a coach. I encourage my players to forget about the result too, the result will come," Luis Enrique said.

"Football is not always a fair game. I'm convinced we have more merits than Morocco. If we don't, I'll be totally fine.

"Our philosophy is the same. We try and entertain the fans so they have fun watching us. We shouldn't just go and get the victory, we need to entertain the spectators."

Morocco head into the quarter-finals, and are set to face either Portugal or Switzerland. The winner of that game will book a place in the semi-final of the World Cup, playing either France or England. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.