'We fear no one!' - Koke insists Spain confident of beating Brazil in potential World Cup quarter-final clash
- Koke taking it a game at a time
- Thinking about Japan in last 16 first
- Will guarantee spot in knockouts with a win
WHAT HAPPENED? Koke was asked about a potential meeting with Brazil in the quarter-finals with the Atletico Madrid midfielder giving a confident response. However, he also insisted that the last-eight is still a long way away with Japan at the forefront of his mind.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking at a pre-match press conference, he said: "Well, we fear no one. We do have maximum respect for all national teams. We do not think about who we will play against in the quarter-final, because, before we are thinking about Japan as we need to win that match, otherwise many things can happen.
"So our first idea is to win against Japan and afterwards we will see who will come. If Brazil is our rival in the quarter-final, because we have been so lucky to qualify, we will face the match in the best possible way."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Koke has played a peripheral part in Spain's World Cup campaign thus far, coming on as a second-half substitute in both of their games. The 30-year-old will likely call time on his international career before the next World Cup in North America owing to the fact both Pedri and Gavi have already cemented their spots in the Spanish midfield. Such a scenario would make this tournament Koke's last chance to secure a World Cup of his own.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR SPAIN? A win against Japan on the final day of the group stage would see them win the group. A loss would see Japan top it, a draw would open the door for Costa Rica to leapfrog both nations should they get an unlikely win over Germany.