World champions Spain set the wrong kind of example on FIFA’s Fair Play day when they got themselves into a brawl at the end of their 3-2 friendly win over Chile on Friday.
Both coaches shrugged aside the incident but soccer’s governing body are hardly likely to be pleased at its timing.
“It was nothing,” said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque. “We’ve seen an excellent game of football and these things can happen in the heat of the moment.”
Chile coach Claudio Borghi was also reluctant to talk about the incident, in which nearly all the players pushed, shoved and aimed kicks at each other.
“The end was bad for both teams,” he said.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday that he wanted international matches on Friday, as well as next Tuesday, to set a good example in FIFA’s fair play campaign.
“I appeal to all players, officials and fans to set a good example of fair play, whether it be at grassroots level, or at the pinnacle of international football,” said Blatter.
“Together we have to take responsibility and play our part in showing fairness, impartiality and solidarity.”
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta told reporters: “You have to ask them what happened. The game was getting a bit heated and sometimes it happens, but it ends there.”
Chile led 2-0 after 20 minutes but Spain came back to win thanks to two goals from substitute Cesc Fabregas, including an injury-time winner, and one from Andres Iniesta.