Spain won their 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup semi-final against Mali, a game marred by controversy with the Africans robbed of a goal, disallowed by referee Ryuji Sato, despite video replays clearly indicating Cheick Doucoure's strike had crossed the line before bouncing out.
Head coach Santiago Denia of Spain spoke his mind out and asked the world governing body to not show replays of incidents on the screen inside the stadium. "I understand that (gross mistake by the referee) but if that will change the game or not it is difficult to say. You have to respect the referees, it is not an easy job. If you show the replay on the big screen, that can influence the referees and the people on the touchline," he said.
He went on to praise FC Barcelona's Abel Ruiz - the skipper of the side whose first-half brace tilted the tie in their favour. "It was not only the captain but the whole team played well. He (Abel) demands more from himself from each and every game.
"He will be the first one to say that he should have got more goals today and he will also know that he has to score those goals in the final. And when you have your captain performing like that your team will automatically look up to him and perform well. That is why you have a captain, a thinker, not just any other ordinary player," he added.
The Spaniards fielded the same starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game and the effects of the heat on the players were evident as quite a few of them pulled out with cramps in the dying stages of the game.
"It is bound to happen when both the teams are playing the sixth match in these weather conditions. I want to give credit to the Mali coach for the way he set his team up and they were tough," the former Atletico de Madrid man commented.
Shifting focus to the final on Saturday, a repeat of the Euro U17 final earlier this summer when the Spanish won via penalty shootouts, Denia assessed that his charges would need to step up their game.
"We do have to prepare for the England match. We know they are a good side as we found out in the Euro U17 in Croatia. England have improved and we have to improve too from this game in order to play the final," he concluded.
Jonas Kokou Komla, the Mali coach seemed dejected by the 'ghost-goal' but took the defeat in his stride. "I cannot say anything about the referee. That is how football is. We played a good game, fast game but we couldn't win. Till yesterday, we won matches but today we lost the match."
"Maybe that (the disallowed goal) would have given us the luck because after that we had time to score the goals. But Spain did play well," said Komla.
While England and Spain clash for the summit tie at the Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata, 8 PM, the Third Place playoff between Brazil and Mali kicks off at 5 PM in the same venue on Saturday.