Brazil still praising Spain despite heavy loss
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Brazil players are not writing off Spain’s chances of winning the World Cup despite the defending champions’ shock defeat to the Netherlands.
Brazil playmaker Oscar and defender Henrique admitted Saturday they were surprised by Spain’s 5-1 stunning loss to the Dutch, but said they didn’t think the titleholders are done just yet.
Oscar said Friday’s rout could spark a reaction by Spain that will keep it in contention for the title.
If Brazil wins Group A, it will play the second-place team in Group B, which could very well be Spain after Friday’s defeat. Chile and Australia are the other sides in Spain’s group.
“Spain remains a top team and this loss maybe will help them become stronger,” Oscar said. “Everybody should still respect their team. The Netherlands deserved to win the way they did, but Spain is still a great national team.”
Henrique said Friday’s match in Salvador could have been different had Spain converted its scoring chances when it was leading 1-0.
“Football is like that sometimes,” the Napoli defender said. “If they had scored the second goal, it would have been another match. But they didn’t and that allowed the Netherlands to pick up the pace and get all the goals.”
He added: “Spain still … have many players who have a lot of quality.”
Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in the tournament opener and is leading Group A. It can virtually secure first place by beating Mexico on Tuesday in Fortaleza.
Spain is last in Group B, but victories against Chile and Australia should be enough to get the team to the second round. If the Dutch also wins their remaining matches, then Spain will finish second and will probably face the hosts.
The last encounter between Brazil and Spain came in the 2013 Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament for the World Cup, when the host nation beat the world champions 3-0 in the final at the Maracana Stadium.