Spain goes 0-fer entire Olympics
Spain exited the Olympic men’s soccer tournament as the only team not to score a single goal in three matches after it closed with a 0-0 draw against Morocco on Wednesday in the final group round.
Forward Adrian Lopez had the best chances for Spain, hitting the post in the 31st minute and then wasting a good chance in the 69th when he was clear on goal. Lopez latched on to a through-ball, but then glanced at the linesman to see whether he was offside instead of shooting. When the official kept his flag down, Lopez dribbled slowly toward goal and sent a weak shot wide.
"He thought he was offside," coach Luis Milla said. "By the time he realized he was onside, it was too late to change it."
It exemplified the sloppiness of Spain’s play at times and a lack of concentration — not only during the match, but over the course of the tournament.
"We lost the three matches at the Olympic Games and that’s a disgrace," forward Juan Mata said, considering Wednesday’s result a loss.
Spain, who finished last in Group D, was already eliminated from the tournament after losing 1-0 in its first two matches against Japan and Honduras. Morocco also goes home after finishing third in Group D.
"It’s been frustrating and disappointing," Milla said when asked if it was embarrassing for his team not to find the net at least once. "I’m disappointed, but maybe we needed a bit more preparation."
Milla said star player Thiago Alcantara’s omission from the squad because of injury even before the tournament began was a blow, but he didn’t want to use it as an excuse.
"We also were missing (forward Iker) Muniain because of injury in the first game and the creative energy he provides," Milla said, adding team officials need to conduct an analysis of what went wrong.
The Spaniards opened the match with bright play, combining well with quick touch passing and advancing into dangerous areas.
But Morocco pressed forward too and had chances to win the match.
A torrential downpour at halftime left the pitch waterlogged in some spots at the beginning of the second interval. When players took shots or punted the ball, big splashes of water sprayed up.
But the drenched field didn’t slow down Morocco forward Noureddine Amrabat, who broke between two defenders as he charged through on goal in the 49th, but the forward’s shot flew just wide. He made another blazing run in the 55th, but his cross into the penalty area was kicked out for a corner. He then created Morocco’s best chance of the match, releasing midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada, whose close-range effort in the 60th was blocked by the goalkeeper’s knees and sent out for a corner.
"There was only one target and that was winning the game," Morocco coach Pim Verbeek said. "The only thing they didn’t do was score a goal.
"I think we created enough opportunities to score goals, not only today, but against Honduras and Japan. I think we did all we could do. They played very well, they tried everything, they didn’t succeed."