Spain held by Morocco but Iago Aspas goal ensures they face Russian Federation

Spain Iran World Cup 2018

Spain Iran World Cup 2018

"We don't have to go insane, although it's true we're first, but we have to do things better".

With Spain playing against Morocco and Iran facing Portugal and both of the group's spots in the round of 16 up for grabs, the matches went down to the wire.

A thrilling encounter on the Baltic Coast was not over just yet, though, as Spanish sub Iago Aspas saw his goal awarded by VAR in stoppage time, after originally being given offside, in order for Fernando Hierro's charges to steal a memorable point.

Spain were given a lifeline through VAR which overturned the referee's decision to rule out Iago Aspas's header from Isco's cross.

Hierro has until Sunday to make changes and get his players ready for the next round, when they face hosts Russian Federation in the last 16.

Aspas spared Spain's blushes and secured their place at the top of the group, but Isco says they should be concerned about the way they are starting games in particular.

Earlier, a mix-up by Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos gifted Morocco its first goal of the World Cup, with Khalid Boutaib pouncing on the loose ball and scoring in the 14th minute.

"We leave the World Cup with our heads held high", Morocco midfielder Faycal Fajr said.

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The best defender on the field was a Real Madrid player, but not one who plays for Spain at worldwide level. "When you look at the lineup it's a mix of Real Madrid and Barcelona so these are outstanding players so our team should be commended".

"We lacked experience. We needed it in order to progress but we showed we were able to take on two of the best teams in the world in Spain and Portugal".

"When we arrived in Russian Federation the coach told us about VAR and we had to be aware of this in key moments", he said.

Spain almost grabbed a second before halftime when Iniesta fired a low pass across the goalmouth that a sliding Diego Costa just failed to connect with.

Iniesta dribbled into the Moroccan 18-yard box and cuts it back to Isco whose control had already beaten the goalkeeper before blasting home the equalizer.

The Moroccans alarmingly caught their opponents sleeping in the 25th minute and really should have restored their lead.

Spain's response to that scare was to keep the ball and bump up their possession stats, though it was the Africans who struck next when Youssef En Nesyri powered home a header from a corner with nine minutes remaining. "We need to be awake with our eyes open and be aware that Morocco aren't going to give anything away".

"People didn't know Morocco before the World Cup we gave a good example, and now people know about Morocco".

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