Spain will have to beat Italy in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup and deal with a few distractions.
The players answered almost as many questions Tuesday about a robbery in their team hotel as they did about the tropical heat in northeastern Brazil and Italy’s desire for revenge.
The Italians lost, 4-0, to Spain a year ago in the final of the European championship.
Spanish players responded to questions about Brazilian media reports that a robbery last week in their hotel was connected to a party after their 2-1 win over Uruguay.
The Spanish federation has acknowledged that six of its players were robbed, but denied any partying and the presence of women from outside the Spanish traveling delegation.
Defender Sergio Ramos said the reports were “attempting to discredit with lies a generation of football players who have shown themselves to be the best.”
“You can’t play with a country with a reputation like Spain that has a super-clean image,” he added. “You also can’t play with families, with the children we have, with girlfriends. To put all of this in doubt by inventing a serious story. In this regard, I hope the law does what is merited.”
MEXICO AT BOTTOM OF U-20 WORLD CUP GROUP
Mexico is on the brink of an early exit from the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey after losing, 1-0, to Paraguay.
Paraguay, which drew in its opener against Mali, broke through on Derlis Gonzalez’s goal in the 52nd minute.
Having also lost to Greece, 2-1, Mexico finds itself at the bottom of Group D with a match against Mali remaining. Paraguay and Greece are tied with four points, and Mali has two.
In Group C, newcomer El Salvador beat Australia, 2-1, and Colombia moved to the top of the group with a 1-0 win over Turkey.
Carlo Ancelotti was hired as Real Madrid’s coach, succeeding Jose Mourinho, and received a three-year contract. He will be introduced Wednesday. Ancelotti came from Paris Saint-Germain, where he was replaced on the same day by former France coach Laurent Blanc. ... Naples prosecutors said they ordered the search of dozens of soccer club offices as part of a tax fraud investigation relating to player contracts. Financial police were executing search warrants on the offices of about 20 Serie A clubs, including AC Milan, Juventus and Lazio. ... Demanding better public services and angered by World Cup costs, about 100,000 people are expected at a protest Wednesday in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.