Skip to content

Spain and Rodri complain after Euro 2024 qualifiers defeat: Scotland style is rubbish and grass is too long

Man City and Spain midfielder Rodri said: "It's the way [Scotland] play, but for me it's rubbish, always wasting time, provoking you, always they fall. For me, this is not football"; Spain's David Garcia said: "The grass was too long, and that cost us."

Rodri (right) complained that Scotland's style was "rubbish" as Scott McTominay's double gave them a 2-0 win over Spain
Image: Rodri (right) complained Scotland's style was "rubbish" as Scott McTominay's double gave them a 2-0 win over Spain

Spain captain Rodri criticised Scotland's "rubbish" approach to football after his team were on the end of a Hampden defeat in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The Manchester City player accused Scotland of time-wasting and provocation after Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay hit a double to earn Scotland a 2-0 victory and a first win over Spain in 39 years.

Spain had not been beaten in Euro qualifying since 2014, when they were beaten 2-1 by Slovakia ahead of the 2016 tournament in France.

They had won 34 of their last 38 European qualifying matches, with three draws, but at Hampden Park they looked unsettled.

Rodri skippered a side featuring eight changes from their previous game, and he criticised the way Scotland went about their work.

"We did many good things to win," he said on Viaplay. "We conceded easy goals - this is football, if you concede easy goals you are penalised.

Image: Rodri criticised Scotland's style of play after his lost 2-0 at Hampden Park

"It's the way they play, but for me it's rubbish, always wasting time, provoking you, always they fall. For me, this is not football. The referee has to take on this, but he says nothing.

Also See:

"We will learn for the next time. We want to go for duels, for battles - we always fight, but this is not about fighting. It's about wasting time - four, five players on the floor, but this depends on the referee, not on us.

"Today we did many good things, but what's important is the goal, and we didn't score."

David Garcia, who was making his Spain debut, also blamed the results on the length of the pitch at Hampden.

He told Marca: "We already saw that the grass was too long, and that cost us. We can't make excuses for that, we have to look at ourselves and fix what we did wrong today."

Boyd: Rodri spat out his dummy | 'Scotland deserved winners'

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd tells Spain to stop making excuses after Scotland's deserved 2-0 Euro 2024 qualifying victory at Hampden Park.

Former Scotland striker Kris Boyd hit back at Rodri's comments, comparing his behaviour to that of a baby.

"I hope Pep has some new dummies for Rodri when he gets back to Manchester City, because he spat them out last night, that's for sure," he told Sky Sports News on Wednesday morning.

"It shows you how far Scotland have come under Steve Clarke because when top nations like Spain turn up and make excuses, like laying into the grass and the pitch and fouling. I think it was (Iago) Aspas last night where it was more like a wrestling challenge on (Ryan) Porteous as well.

"I get that they're disappointed that they've lost the game, but Scotland were deserved winners. It wasn't a fluke.

"If you go toe to toe with nations that have more or less invented that style of football, you're going to get beaten. You need to find a way to overcome what they're very good at."

Scotland's victory over Spain has been billed as the country's biggest result since they beat France at the Stade de France in 2007.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Former Scotland striker James McFadden wants the Tartan Army to get

The matchwinner that day, James McFadden, also believed Rodri's comments were in "poor" taste and Spain were just as guilty of what the City midfielder claimed Scotland did.

McFadden said: "It was brilliant, he gave us loads of credit for the performance! Spain aren't used to losing games and Rodri's club side aren't used to losing too many games.

"I thought it was poor because yes, towards the end of the game there were [Scotland] players going down, but they'd put so much into the game.

"I think he had to look at his own team and their antics in the first half, throwing themselves to the ground, trying to get players sent off, trying to win penalties.

"It's sour grapes, I expected a bit more class from him. Spain were wasting their own time, the amount of times in the second half they kicked the ball out the park - I think they just wanted to see the final whistle."

Spanish papers vent fury at 'shipwreck'

The defeat provoked a predictably angry response in Spain. While Rodri and his team-mates sought to deflect, the country's newspapers set their sights on their own team.

"What is the plan?" asked the front page of Madrid-based daily Marca. Luis De la Fuente's side "did not function in any capacity," the paper said, describing them as "classless and without solidity" and labelling the defeat "painful".

Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports: "I wouldn't say the mood is one of shock but certainly surprise as the feeling over here was that the Spain team would be too strong for Spain.

"Apart from two or three moments when Spain could've scored, the Scottish team were much better. It was not a shock as we're not the same Spain of 10-15 years ago, but after beating Norway 3-0 at the weekend, the Spanish press certainly expected more from De la Fuente's team.

"There is not a Plan A, let alone a Plan B."

Mundo Deportivo used a play on words on its front page, the headline "Escocidos" combining the Spanish word for Scotland with the word for "stung", adding the defeat had "sowed doubts" around the De La Fuente era after only two games.

AS and Sport, meanwhile, used the Spanish word for "shipwreck" in their front page headlines.

AS described the second goal as "horrible" and questioned the eight changes De la Fuente made to his team, while the Barcelona-based Sport gleefully pointed out there were no Barca players in the XI, saying the team was "broken" in defence and striker Joselu was the "only player to create any danger in attack".

On De la Fuente, Montero added: "He's been criticised, but 10 days ago when he selected his squad for these qualifiers, there wasn't too much of a debate. De la Fuente is a well respected and well-known coach from the Spain U21s team, and the only thing people didn't understand from Tuesday night was why he made eight changes to the side after beating Norway.

"Apart from that, everyone believes it was the right squad that is only at the start of a new cycle. Many people are generating debate between Luis Enrique and Luis De la Fuente. But Enrique is in the past and we have to let him work as his journey has only started."

Who is Luis de la Fuente?

  • Luis de la Fuente may be an unknown to many but not for some of Spain’s senior players, having led many of them to a silver medal at the delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.
  • He takes over from Luis Enrique after spending the last nine years as a head coach in the Spanish national team youth set-up.
  • The 61-year-old represented Spain up to U23 level in a playing career which saw him spend time at Sevilla, Alaves and Athletic Bilbao.
  • De la Fuente has not held a senior head coach role since he was sacked by Alaves in 2011 after just three months in charge.
  • His other managerial experience includes time in charge of Basque side Club Portugalete in the Spanish regional leagues, former third-tier Spanish club CD Aurrera de Vitoria and Athletic Bilbao’s B team.

Opta stats: A first win over Spain since 1984, five wins in a row at home - Scotland's stunning night in stats...

  • Scotland earned their first win over Spain since November 1984 (3-1 in a World Cup qualifier), while this was just their third ever competitive victory against them (1957, 1984 and 2023).
  • Scotland have won five consecutive home matches for the first time since September 2006-October 2007, when they won six in a row between tenures of Walter Smith and Alex McLeish.
  • Spain suffered their first defeat in a Euro qualifying match since October 2014 (1-2 v Slovakia), having won 17 of their last 19 such fixtures (D2) and never conceding more than once in a game in this run.
Win £250,000 with Super 6!
Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Another Saturday, another chance to win £250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm.

Around Sky