London: Spain face Fifa disciplinary action after a bad-tempered elimination from the Olympics football tournament.
Seven Spain players, including star forward Juan Mata, were shown yellow cards in a 1-0 loss to Honduras in Newcastle.
The pre-event favorites now cannot advance from its group. Some Spain players clashed with opponents in the tunnel at half time, and confronted Venezuelan referee Juan Soto when he rejected appeals for a penalty late in the game.
Fifa rules require team fines if at least five players are booked. Further sanctions can be added if players “threaten or harass match officials” or for serious offences. Honduras also face Fifa action after having six players booked.
Having been spoiled with success at almost every age level in football lately, Spain were looking to add the Olympic title to its World Cup and European Championship trophies. So far, they haven’t even scored a goal, losing 1-0 to Japan in their opener.
Against Honduras at St James’ Park, Spain fell behind in the seventh minute and could never recover. “The team was tense from the beginning because they knew that they had to score to qualify for the next round,” coach Luis Milla said. “And the early goal made it harder.”
Forward Jerry Bengtson scored for Honduras after a counterattack down the left side. Andy Najar passed to fellow midfielder Roger Espinoza, who fired in a cross as Bengtson cut inside. The striker jumped over a defender to power in a header past Spain goalkeeper David De Gea.
Milla acknowledged that the team may have been daunted by the task of trying living up to the high expectations.
“Yes, it’s possible that the pressure was there, but they are players who play at the highest level,” Milla said. “The coaching staff has to analyse what led to the elimination. We have to find out what happened.”
Group A: Senegal 2 Uruguay 0; Great Britain 3 UAE 1 Group B: South Korea 2 Switzerland 1 Group D: Honduras 1 Spain 0; Japan 1 Morocco 0