Spain’s exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the hands of Russia ranks as one of the biggest shocks of the tournament which has also seen Germany fail to progress from the group stage for the first time since 1938.
A 4-3 penalty shootout victory after the sides were level at 1-1 at the end of extra time sent the hosts through to their first World Cup quarter-final since 1970. Russia’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saved two penalties in the shootout, that of Koke and of Iago Aspas, to send stun their fancied opponents.
Since their exit, reports have emerged, suggesting that striker Diego Costa had discouraged coach Fernando Hierro from picking his Atletico Madrid teammate Koke as one of the penalty takers.
Costa can be seen talking to the Spanish boss several times as he was putting together the penalty-takers list. Hierro reportedly told Costa "Koke is OK" to which he responded, "He's OK?"
At this point, captain Sergio Ramos intervened and asked Koke if he wants to take a penalty to which the midfielder responded "Yes, yes."
After the 26-year-old missed, Costa, who was standing on the sidelines along with the other players and support staff, stood out from the line and stared towards Hierro.
"I told you so," the former Chelsea striker reportedly said.
On the midfielder's effort, BBC pundit Cesc Fabregas said: "It’s not difficult for the goalkeeper. It's one of the worst penalties you can have. Not in the middle, but on the side, halfway."
Here’s that clip:
While lip-reading is not the best way to confirm that was the conversation on the field, the striker’s reaction after Koke failed to convert the penalty paints quite a picture