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Luis Enrique hails Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets following Germany draw

Luis Enrique hails Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets following Germany draw

Spain boss Luis Enrique has lavished praise on “veterans” Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets following La Roja’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the 2022 World Cup.

The 2010 world champions are in a strong position to qualify for the last-16 stage of the tournament, having picked up four points from their opening two matches in Qatar.

Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 in their competition opener before drawing 1-1 with Germany on Sunday night.

Alvaro Morata sent La Roja ahead in the 62nd minute of the clash with Hansi Flick‘s side, before Niclas Fullkrug levelled the scores with an emphatic finish in the 83rd minute.

Busquets played the full 90 minutes of the Group E contest, while Alba played 82 minutes, with the latter providing the assist for Morata to make the breakthrough.

Costa Rica's Celso Borges in action with Spain's Sergio Busquets at the World Cup on November 23, 2022© Reuters

Alba has lost his starting role at Barcelona this season, but Enrique has kept the experienced defender as his first-choice left-back, while Busquets also remains a key player for the national side despite facing criticism for some of his displays at club level this term.

Enrique has claimed that “there is a campaign against them”, but the 52-year-old remains delighted with their contribution to the national side.

“Alba is a player at the highest level like Busquets, there is a campaign against them and that’s normal because people are tired of veterans,” Enrique told reporters.

“I bring them to the national team because they are amazing players. Alba is the best full-back in the world in the final third of the field.

Spain's Sergio Busquets during training on November 14, 2022© Reuters

“Alba is like Busquets, they’ve been trying to force him out for many years. I hope we can convince him to continue and play another World Cup.”

Enrique also said that he was pleased with Spain’s performance against Germany, with the national side now only needing a point against Japan in their next match to guarantee qualification for the round of 16.

“When I watch the game afterward, I’ll like it better. Especially this one. I saw a first half that was perhaps better, but we lacked a little bit of confidence to realise that we could hurt Germany more,” he added.

“We couldn’t control the game and they caught us with a mistake. We were ambitious until the end and I’ll be happy to see that tomorrow.

“I liked the attitude we had of going out to win the game. We will go out to win against Japan and we want to go through as group winners.”

Enrique’s contract as Spain head coach is due to expire after this competition, and a decision on his future has allegedly not yet been made.

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