- Spain will take on Morocco in last-16 tie at Education City Stadium on Tuesday
- Pedri says Spain cannot “go missing” at any stage of the match
- Barcelona ace admits feeling “anguish’ during final group game
Pedri has warned Spain will face a FIFA World Cup™ exit at the hands of Morocco if they repeat the lapses in concentration which cost them in their group-stage defeat to Japan. A quarter-final spot will be at stake when Spain battle it out with the Atlas Lions at Education City Stadium on Tuesday evening. Barcelona playmaker Pedri is expecting a stern examination against a Morocco team who defied all odds to qualify for the knockout phase top of a group featuring European heavyweights Belgium and Croatia.
Spain kicked off their World Cup campaign with a dominant 7-0 victory over Costa Rica but have since let leads slip in a 1-1 draw with Germany and a 2-1 loss against Japan. Luis Enrique’s side appeared in total control of their clash with the Samurai Blue, leading 1-0 at half-time, but two goals in three minutes shortly after the interval turned the game on its head. Pedri, who is set to make his 18th senior international appearance in the Morocco tie, says the team must learn from that experience. “The last game was a tough match,” explained the 20-year-old.
“It was a hard blow – we didn’t expect that result against Japan. “Luckily, we have another opportunity. We have realised all matches are life and death in terms of the tournament. “But if we go missing for 10 minutes, if you disconnect, you go home. If they score, it can be the only one they need.”
Pedri has started all of Spain’s Qatar 2022 games so far – playing the full 90 minutes against Germany and Japan – and admits getting caught up in the nerve-shredding drama of the final round of Group E matches. With Spain one goal down to Japan, they were in danger of being eliminated from the tournament when Costa Rica hit the front against Germany midway through the second half.
Fortunately for Pedri and his teammates, Hansi Flick’s side hit back to win 4-2, allowing Spain to qualify for the last 16 on goal difference. “I was looking at the scoreboard,” Pedri added. “When I saw Costa Rica were second, and we were out, I was trying to look for the goal. “I didn’t realise Germany had taken the lead, and we were second again. I was in anguish throughout the game.”