Spain must cut down on careless errors if they are to advance to the later stages of the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Russia, midfielder Isco said after the Roja booked a place in the round of 16. Also Read - FIFA World Cup 2022 Organisers Hoping For More Indian Eyeballs Than Previous Edition
Needing at least a draw against Morocco to advance to the knockout stage without relying on other results, Spain looked in danger of bowing out after Yousseff En-Nesyri’s 81st-minute header here on Monday, reports Xinhua news agency. Also Read - Pele Backs Kylian Mbappe to Become Best Player of His Generation, Says French Forward Can Emulate His Tally of 1000 Goals
But substitute Iago Aspas equalised in the second minute of stoppage time with a back-heel flick that was originally ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). Also Read - Manchester City Striker Gabriel Jesus Reflects on His Dipped Form Following World Cup Campaign
Khalid Boutaib had given Morocco an early lead after a counter-attack before Isco drew Spain level by firing in from close range minutes later.
“We need to get our act together or we’ll be going home,” Isco told reporters.
“We have again gone out onto the pitch a little hesitant.”
“We need to make it easier on ourselves and not make so many errors at dead-ball situations. Now the important part of the tournament starts and we know that it’s going to be very difficult.”
Monday’s result means that Spain finished the tournament’s first stage as Group B leaders with five points.
They will now face hosts Russia in the round of 16 on July 1.
Portugal also progressed to the next phase by taking second spot, equal on points with Spain but with fewer goals scored.
Their group rivals Iran and Morocco were eliminated, with four points and one point respectively.
Isco praised the use of the VAR, which ruled that Aspas’ goal should stand after initially being flagged for offside.
“That’s what VAR is for so that points aren’t taken away from you,” the Real Madrid midfielder said.
“It’s good for everybody and means that there are fewer injustices,” he added.