Rodrigo shrugged off fitness woe to be Spain's Euro hero

By Dom Farrell 16 October 2019 8
Rodrigo shrugged off fitness woe to be Spain's Euro hero

Rodrigo Moreno revealed he played through the pain barrier to seal Spain's place at Euro 2020.

The Valencia striker started on the bench as Sweden entertained Spain at the Friends Arena on Tuesday, having felt discomfort during training before the match.

He came on midway through the second half with La Roja trailing to Marcus Berg's 50th-minute opener at the time and pounced in stoppage-time to secure the 1-1 draw Robert Moreno's side needed to secure qualification.

"The other day I trained with a little pain. The important thing was to go out and help," Rodrigo told reporters.

"If we don't win every game, they [Spain's critics] will start saying we're not at the [right] level. It's logical. We have to work harder."

The result made it back-to-back 1-1 draws during this international break for Spain, with midfielder Rodri agreeing improvement is necessary before the finals.

"It seems that Spain has to win, always being there, but the rivals are increasingly difficult," said Manchester City's record signing.

"We are happy to have got the draw in the end but we wanted more. [Sweden] live to score a goal and lock themselves up [defensively]."

In-form Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno started in Rodrigo's place to make his international debut – remaining on the field to revel in the late drama.

"I'm happy with the debut and the qualification. It's a dream I've always had. It's the best," he told reporters.

"It's a dream to be in the [squad for the] European Championship. I'm going to work for it.

"One shirt I will keep for me and another for my family. It's a beautiful memory."

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Dom Farrell