Koke has brilliant response to Van der Vaart after ex-Holland ace launches damning attack on Spain's Euro 2020 squad

SPAIN have extra motivation to beat Slovakia tonight from an unlikely source — former Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart.

The Dutchman, 38, has angered the La Roja flops ahead of their Group E crunch, which they must win to guarantee their place in the Last 16.

After seeing them draw both opening matches with Sweden and Poland, ex-Real Madrid ace Van der Vaart said: “I hope we end up playing them.

“They don’t have anything in that team. The only thing they do is pass the ball from one side to the other, they don’t have a player who knows how to make a  definitive pass.”

The comments from a member of the Holland side beaten 1-0 by Spain in the 2010 World Cup final have not gone down well with current crop of stars.

Midfielder Koke, 29, revealed: “At our training base we have a picture of Iniesta’s goal  with him next to him.

“We will remember these words.”

Winger Pablo Sarabia, 29, added: “He made a mistake with those comments. He has messed up.

“The only memory I have of him is the 2010 World Cup — and it didn’t go too well for him.”

This is Spain’s worst start to a Euros since 1996, but asked if he feared the sack should they fail to qualify coach Luis Enrique just laughed at a TV reporter.

He then added: “Luis Enrique was born an optimist and he’ll die an optimist.”

Enrique will be boosted by the return of captain Sergio Busquets, 32, following his Covid scare.

Slovakia are currently second in the table on three points, one point and one place above Spain.

The visitors arrived here on Monday after a gruelling 6½-hour flight from Saint Petersburg.


Skipper Marek Hamsik, 33, said: “Everyone’s surprised by how Spain have done, but it doesn’t really mean anything to us.

“We will need to be compact in defence — but we will need to attack and pose a threat as well. We cannot just sit back.

“Spain are favourites but we hope to cause an upset.”

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