Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong: Spain eliminated

Spain says goodbye to the World Cup in Lithuania in the quarterfinals after losing to Portugal (2-4) in extra time, the current European champions, who raised a 2-0 in the second half. After all, sport is always fair, and the winner is fair on his own merits, but everything that could go wrong in Vilnius did go wrong. It is true that the National Team did not defend well the income it achieved in the first half (0-0 at halftime) … but the Portuguese comeback began with an incomprehensible referee error after reviewing the VAR! André Coelho scored with a powerful shot that Jesús Herrero could not repel and Spain resorted to video refereeing. The two referees (from Egypt and Morocco) saw Ricardinho commit a clear foul for a push on Adolfo to assist Coelho. Despite this, they accepted the goal, and Spain was affected.

And is that the start of the game was electric, vibrant, with two teams willing to go out for everything without speculating. Adolfo missed in the first minute an occasion that he does not usually forgive. Jesús Herrero, one of the most prominent in Spain despite the goal, began to take center stage against Ricardinho who, playing much later than in his heyday, is still a dangerous weapon at 36 years of age. The high pressure of Raúl Campos was a nuisance for the Portuguese, who quickly placed the poster of five fouls on their bench. There were ten minutes until the break and that sixth foul, which is so hard to whistle, came almost on the horn. Adri had a double penalty shot that he threw directly out against Bebe, the Portuguese goalkeeper who at times gave his teammates insecurity but who made a good game. He himself was the one who committed the sixth foul for a false start.

The score was not moved at half-time, with the feeling that the score was fair. In the resumption, Spain came out with another march, and that was transferred on the scoreboard. Adolfo, after a masterful pass from Ortiz, subtly defined the first touch. Equality was broken, but Spain wanted more. Adri, very active in the one-on-one game, asked himself to launch a heeled free kick … and boom, inside. Three minutes into the second half, Spain dominated by two goals. It was time to control the game, pull experience … and that was the case for a long time, until with nine minutes to go, the play that changed the game arrived. Both of Coelho assisted by a Ricardinho who fouled Adolfo in the recovery. Spain requested the VAR, the image seemed clear … but nothing. The National Team, in addition to seeing how the goal was valid, was unable to use the opportunity to review again after having failed. Incomprehensible.

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The game continued evenly, and Portugal was already preparing the goalkeeper-player on the bench … when Zicky tied with four minutes remaining. A young Portuguese talent who, in a match traced to the Champions League final between Barça and Sporting, once again demonstrated his power. And also, at that time, the Portuguese triumphed. Even Pany had the third on the next play. The stick avoided it. After a few groggy moments, Spain reacted and finished the game dominating, trying to avoid extra time, but when you don’t have the day, there is little you can do. After numerous occasions, there was a second left: corner taken by Ortiz and Adolfo, one meter from the potería, to the post. And final honk. In extra time, an extra time to which Portugal also arrived with five fouls.

Zicky made a hand, the referees saw it involuntary, but Spain kept pressing. Wood also continued to be the protagonist. The ball did not want to enter. Well, he went in, but where he shouldn’t. Raya cleared the wrong way and his action ended with a goal against. Not to believe. There were still the second part of extra time ahead, five minutes, and Spain came out with Adri as goalkeeper-player. It was a slow game, without chances, with Pany Varela scoring the fourth on empty goal. It was Spain’s goodbye to the World Cup … and again in the quarterfinals, as in 2016. The dream of the third star will have to wait, at least, another three years.

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