U17 World Cup : Spanish coach Santi Denia underlines importance of Brazil game

Getty Images
With Spain gearing up to take on Brazil, coach Santi Denia and player Abel Ruiz talk about their ambitions for the blockbuster event...

Coach Santi Denia and star player Abel Ruiz made it clear that winning the World Cup was Spain U17 team's main goal, in an interaction with the press ahead of their FIFA U17 World Cup opener. Denia talked about their opponents in the first game, Brazil, and talked about how important the game will be in what he considers is the most difficult group of the tournament.

"It's the most difficult group of the tournament and it's very important to win the first match. Brazil are favourites for the World Cup. Winning the first match will lift our spirits."

Spain are placed alongside Brazil, DPR Korea and Niger in Group D. 

"We had two weeks of preparations. One in Spain, One here in India" said Denia when asked about their preparation for the tournament. 

According to the coach, the events back in Catalonia where an independence referendum has caused political controversy, will not affect the team in anyway and they will concentrate totally on football. 

"We have come here to win the World Cup. We are here to play football and we are a united country," he said. 

When asked about the presence of Barcelona and Real Madrid players in the same dressing room, the coach said it was their job to choose the best and hopes the players will give their best. 

"Yeah! it's our job to ensure that the players from different teams are united. They are doing their best. They have played a lot of matches together and the group is united."

The defence has been a bit of a concern for Spain heading into the tournament and Denia admitted that there is always room for improvement in every section of their game. 

Spain striker Abel Ruiz, also present at the presser, opined that Vinicius Junior not playing for Brazil would be a big miss for their opponents on Saturday but that did not mean that they would take the game lightly. 

"We know that Vinicius is not playing and that's a big miss and as the coach said, we need to improve in every aspect," said Ruiz. 

Article continues below

The hot weather in Kochi is expected to be testing for the players but Denia feels that they cannot use it as an excuse when they take to the field.

"Conditions cannot be an excuse for the match tomorrow. We are working really hard," said Denia