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Koke, Sarabia snap back at van der Vaart with World Cup jibe

Rafael van der Vaart, Andres Iniesta Source: Getty Images

Spain duo Koke and Pablo Sarabia have snapped back at Rafael van der Vaart by reminding him of what happened at the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.

Dutch former midfielder van der Vaart was stinging in his assessment of La Roja's first two performances at Euro 2020 as they drew 0-0 with Sweden and 1-1 with Poland, leaving their progress to the last 16 dependent on a win over Slovakia.

He told NOS that Spain were "horrible" to watch, adding he would be happy for the Netherlands to meet them in the knockout phase as "all [Spain] do is pass from one side to the other".

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke claimed van de Vaart "wants his moment of glory and he's having it" as he sought to highlight how the ex-Real Madrid player played in the World Cup final 11 years ago that the Netherlands lost to Spain thanks to Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal.

It was Van der Vaart who attempted to block Iniesta's 116th-minute strike, to no avail.

He told El Partidazo de COPE: "I saw him in the World Cup final, and here at Las Rozas we have a photo of Iniesta's goal against the Netherlands with [Van der Vaart] next to him. You have to respect him.

"We're going to keep those words to motivate us a bit. We're not going to hang them up in the dressing room, but we're going to keep them in our memory if we play them."

Sarabia also said van der Vaart was "mistaken with his comments", telling Radio Marca: "The only memory I have of that is the 2010 World Cup, in which he didn't come out so well because we won the final.

"We're not experiencing a wholly positive situation. If we had won one of the two games, everything would've been seen differently. What we have to do is to win on Wednesday to forget everything.

"I think we're playing well and we're getting there. We just need the ball to go in. We dominate games, we press well, they create few chances against us... I hope football will reward us and we'll win against Slovakia."

Spain must win to guarantee their progress from Group E, although a draw will also be enough if Poland do not beat Sweden.

Source Omnisport