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Ramos: Spain still bitter over World Cup exit

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Sergio Ramos said that Spain are still feeling bitter over their disappointing World Cup campaign ahead of tonight’s Uefa Nations League game with England

La Roja had been one of the pre-tournament favourites heading into Russia before controversially losing manager Julen Lopetegui in the build-up to the World Cup.

Under Sporting Director Fernando Hierro, Spain suffered an early exit at the last-16 stage to tournament hosts Russia in a penalty shoot-out loss.

But, following the arrival of Luis Enrique as Lopetegui’s long-term successor in July, Spain have since won both of their Nations League and lead Group A4 with six points.

A win tonight at Seville against England will secure their place in the Nations League finals next June and Ramos feels that the squad are determined to prove themselves after Russia.

“There’s a bitter taste in the mouth from Russia, given we were knocked out of the tournament so early, while knowing that we had a team that could’ve competed with the best,” said Ramos in a pre-match press conference on the Spanish football federation’s YouTube.

“That wasn’t the case, but now we’re into a new era with a new coach. I think our mentality is very positive once again and we have to try to achieve our targets.

“We have to enjoy the Nations League, which is an important competition and it’s what lies ahead of us, so we want to start with a good run of results, perform well and win, as we’ve been doing.

“We have a very important game against England tomorrow, which will be a fantastic clash.”

Despite England failing to collect a single win in their two Nations League games, Ramos will not be taking them lightly.

“I think they’re a very good side,” said the Spain captain. “They’ve been going through a new cycle, with players leaving the national team.

“But they are a team that competes very well, with players that can make things happen and are very dangerous going forward.

“They’ll be tough opponents for us, but we’ll try to hurt them in the ways that we’ve been working on for some time.”

Enrique also gave his thoughts in the press conference ahead of the match at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, which starts at 20:45 (CEST).