A bad encounter in the Small Heysel of Brussels, dressed with the performance of the Romanian referee, Vlad Iordachescu, moves away from Spanish rugby the dream of playing his second Rugby World Cup. That dream is still possible: Spain will enter the repechage phase . But a triumph in Brussels would have allowed that the trip to the Japanese World Cup was already being celebrated
Spain did not play well in Brussels . Santiago Santos had said before the game that the Belgians, with their best team and at home, were a very difficult team. More than home, when they seem to let go-in Madrid Spain won 30-0. And indeed in Brussels he found the best local training, which practiced a very closed game and a high level defense. And against that defense Spain did not know how to act properly. No gaps were found or how to create them until almost the end of the game.
There will be a lot of talk about the arbitration, a Romanian referee for a match, in which to beat Belgium, put Romania directly in the World Cup . And in effect he cut the Spanish game on many occasions while Belgium had continuity options, while the Red Devils’ high tackles were only sanctioned at the end of the game. This lack of continuity weighed heavily in the creation of the game and was, objectively, an added problem.
But that can not hide that every time the game was cut it used to be in the Spanish field. The Spanish XV did not come close to the Belgian 22 nor much less to the rehearsal line. In a small and narrow field, which in fact raised problems that could not be solved, they made very dangerous shots to Belgian clubs. The Spanish defensive discipline was not the best, granting excessive punishing options against a referee very willing to sanction them. Despite this, the defensive concentration remained. Belgium did not score any trials.
However, the fight for the World Cup is not over. Now follows a repechage phase with three seasons : a first against Portugal to win the European place, another against Samoa, and a third in a tournament with one team per continent. The XV of the Lion has shown against rivals against Russia and Romania that is competitive and a bad day in Brussels has not made him lose his virtues. The fight for the World Cup has not ended. Only that we will have to fight more.