Spain midfielder Pedri believes their loss to Japan was a wake-up call for their World Cup campaign ahead of the round of 16 clash with Morocco on Monday.
La Roja did not finish top of Group E after a shock loss to Samurai Blue but still qualified after Germany beat Costa Rica elsewhere in Qatar 2022.
Luis Enrique’s team, firm favorites to win the league table and having secured a more favorable play-off draw, will instead play Morocco after a surprise campaign.
But with no insurance at the moment, Pedri says Spain is more than aware that they won’t get a second chance after the unexpected defeat.
“We realized all the matches not for life, but for death,” he told Sport. “The last game was tough. It was a hard blow – we did not expect such a result against Japan.
“Fortunately, we have another opportunity. But if we’re gone for 10 minutes, if you pass out, you’ll go home. If they score, that might be the only thing they need.”
9. Alvaro Morata has scored nine World and European Cup goals since 2016, more than twice as many as any other Spanish player in that period. Reliable. pic.twitter.com/i2BG2dTg2F
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 1, 2022
At one point during their last game in Group E, Spain appeared to have missed the playoffs entirely, with Costa Rica poised to go through instead as they were leading in Germany.
Pedri showed he couldn’t focus on other things after discovering that La Roja could leave, instead trying to get Spain to change their game.
“I was looking at the scoreboard,” he added. “When I saw that Costa Rica was second and we were out, I tried to score a goal.
“I didn’t realize that Germany had taken the lead and we were second again. I was in agony throughout the game.”