Spain beat Albania 3-0 to secure mathematically a direct ticket to the World Cup finals, but it wasn’t just about football yesterday in Alicante.
Gerard Pique, Barcelona’s outspoken defender, a public supporter of the Catalans wish and right to vote on a referendum to remain part of Spain or get their own country, was initially booed as the names of the players of the starting lineup were announced, same thing happened when he first touched the ball during the game, but things looked totally different when he got substituted in the second half.
The fans have been phenomenal,. It starts to put the focus on the positive things in our football and our country. It is like when you see a painting and you just look at the speck of dust. We have to celebrate the good things and we have done it in the dressing room, singing and dancing
Julen Lopetegui told reporters after the game, glad to have seen Pique go out amid loud applauds from the majority of the fans present in the stadium.
As for the yellow cards that Pique and David Silva received, meaning that they are going to miss the trip to Israel for the last group match, the Spain coach was quick to deny that there was any ‘plan’ behind them.
I have never planned such a thing or prepared to do it. I do not believe in that. The cards were the result of the game because there were disputes, and we lost control of the game at some point