Football

Euro 2020: Spain hit back at Rafael van der Vaart's 'horrible' taunt

Spain's players have been stung by former Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart's comments about their shaky start in Euro 2020.

The Dutchman, a pundit for broadcaster NOS said Spain's performances have been "horrible" and they "only know how to pass the ball from one side to the other", after the former champions drew their first two games against Poland and Sweden.

      EURO 2020: GROUP E
SLOVAKIA SPAIN

The 38-year-old's comments drew a fiery response.

Midfielder Koke on Spanish radio station Cadena COPE: "I saw him in the World Cup final, and here at our training base we have a picture of Iniesta's goal against the Netherlands with him next to him. You have to respect people's opinions but we'll remember these words.

"We're not going to hang them up in the dressing room but we'll keep them in our memories in case we end up playing (the Dutch)."

While Spain have made their worst start to a Euros since 1996 and need to beat Slovakia today to guarantee their place in the last 16, the Netherlands have won all three games and are the top scoring side in the tournament with eight goals.

Van der Vaart's words also irked Spain midfielder Pablo Sarabia.

"He made a big mistake with those comments," he told Radio Marca.

"And especially as a former footballer. He has messed up, but the only memory I have of him is the 2010 World Cup and it didn't go too well for him as we won the final." - REUTERS

Football