While the French players raised the Nations League trophy, supported by a metal fence that separated the runners-up, Luis Enrique applauded in the front row. One by one, he encouraged his players before attending the TVE microphones. The legality of Mbappé’s goal had some of the Spanish internationals on fire, but the coach preferred to maintain his rule of not talking about refereeing. “I stay in my thirteen of not talking about what I can not control,” settled the coach from Gijón. In the press room he did not criticize the performance either.
Unai Simón, Laporte, Marcos Alonso, Eric Garcia, Azpilicueta, Busquets, Rodrigo (Fornals, min. 83), Pablo Páez Gavira (Koke, min. 74), Ferrán Torres (Merino, min. 83), Oyarzabal and Sarabia (Yeremy Pine, min. 60)
Lloris, Koundé, Varane (Dayotchanculle Upamecano, min. 42), Kimpembe, Aurelien Tchouameni, Pogba, Benjamin Pavard (Dubois, min. 79), Theo Hernández, Griezmann (Veretout, min. 91), Benzema and Kylian Mbappe
Goals 1-0 min. 63: Oyarzabal. 1-1 min. 65: Benzema. 1-2 min. 79: Kylian Mbappe.
Yellow cards Pogba (min. 45), Koundé (min. 54), Laporte (min. 85) and Kylian Mbappe (min. 88)
The reaction of the Spanish internationals was not as cold as that of their coach. The protagonist of the play, Eric García, explained the set with resentment. “They put the ball behind their back and I hit it with the cue. The referee tells me that I intended to play the ball and that I should move away because that is the rule. It is offside of course, in life a defender is going to move away in a play like this, ”said the Barça center-back. The outrage was widespread among Spanish players. “All of us who have played football know that it is offside, whoever has set this rule has never played football in his life. It already happened to me with La Real last year and the year before. It’s something that needs to be changed, Eric didn’t want to play the ball ”, lamented Mikel Oyarzabal, the scorer of the Spanish goal. “Each referee interprets the rule as he wants, for me it is offside, but you don’t have to look back. We have been better than them and we have to be proud ”, Aymeric Laporte added.
Immersed in the analysis of the match, Luis Enrique was satisfied with what was offered by his players. “We are going without a cup, but we have competed face to face against the best team in the world, with physical potential and quality beyond any doubt,” argued the Spanish coach. “It was difficult for us at the beginning because they pressed well, but we have competed with our weapons and we could have clear options to win them, but we have conceded the tie.” For the Asturian coach, the speed with which France managed to draw was decisive. “The final half hour of the first half responded to what we have raised. In the second half everything is relatively controlled and when we score the goal comes the penalty and the unfair. Normally, when a team receives a goal it is touched and it is an interesting moment to generate problems for them, but Benzema invents a spectacular goal after overcoming our pressure ”. Luis Enrique’s conclusion is that the tournament has strengthened his footballers: “It is one more stone in the backpack. You always draw conclusions. I hope to have problems in the next list, in fact every time we bring in new players, the guys perform ”, concluded the coach.
“In two sparks they have killed us. We knew the players they have and that out there they could beat us as it has been, but I think we have been better ”, Oyarzabal abounded.
“I really wanted to win a trophy with the French team and today I have achieved it,” declared Karim Benzema, author of the goal that prevented Spain from enjoying the advantage achieved with Oyarzabal’s goal. “It was very difficult to win against a great team like Espala. We have shown character, because this team is very strong, it never gives up and today it has shown it again “, continued the French forward, who also pointed out the importance of achieving the equalizer so quickly:” It is the norm of great teams, don’t panic, be patient and wait ”.
The difference between “deliberate play” and drift or rebound
In the 80th minute the sentence and the controversy of the final of the League of Nations converged. At that moment, Theo Hernández filtered a deep pass to Mbappé, who started in an advanced position to score the final 1-2. Eric García launched himself at grass level to try to intercept the pass and, by touching the ball with the heel of his left foot, enabled the French striker, according to the regulations. “A player in an offside position shall be deemed not to have taken advantage of said position when he receives the ball from an opponent who voluntarily plays the ball, including the voluntary hand (…)”, reads rule 11.2 of the regulations .
The referee of the final, the British Anthony Taylor, did not go to review the action to the VAR monitor since, from the first moment, it was considered an objective play since the assistant did not raise the flag to signal the prior offside of Mbappe.
Eric Garcia’s action is considered “deliberate play” in his action of trying to cut the ball. The opposite circumstance would have been if Mbappé had taken advantage of an involuntary deflection or a rebound to score the goal. Among these “rebounds”, the regulations include the hits of the ball on a post, on the crossbar, on a member of the refereeing team or on an opponent. The rule penalizes the natural instinct of the defender to try to cut any pass from danger, unless it is a “save”, which according to the regulations is only when it is an action under the sticks. If Eric García had let the ball pass, Mbappé would have been offside.
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