Spain 2-2 Morocco: 3 things that went wrong for Spain, World Cup 2018
Final score: Spain 2-2 Morocco
Goalscorers: Khalib Boutaib 14' (Morocco), Isco 19' (Spain), Youssef En-Nesyri 81' (Morocco), Iago Aspas 91' (Spain)
Spain may have fought out an intense 2-2 draw against Morocco last night to finish the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup atop Group B, but with all due respect to the Moroccans who put up a commendable performance, the result could have read very differently.
The Spaniards simply haven't been convincing enough this tournament, drawing Portugal in the first game and then picking up a narrow win against Iran. With a side consisting of as much talent and potential as this Spanish side, they should have quite honestly dominated this group.
Last night was no different as they struggled to pick up a point against their North African opponents. The Moroccans were the first to find the back of the net after Khalib Boutaib capitalised on a horrific giveaway by Spain.
Isco soon brought the Spaniards level, sending the ball crashing into the net after some brilliant play from Andres Iniesta. Morocco then stunned the favourites as Youssef En-Nesyri's splendid header gave them a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute.
Substitute Iago Aspas' flamboyant 91st-minute leveller saved Spain some blushes as they eventually finished the game 2-2, giving them the top spot in the group with 5 points from 3 games.
Again, meaning no disrespect to the resilient Moroccans, Spain should've sealed this game comfortably, and on that note, here's a look at 3 things that went wrong for them.
#3 Squad selection and substitutions
The new Spanish manager Fernando Hierro, hasn't had the best of starts after being appointed just a day before Spain's first World Cup game against Portugal. He is clearly yet to identify his best 11, and yesterday only accentuated the fact.
Starting Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantara was always going to result in some extent of redundancy as both players aren't the most attacking-minded. Dropping Lucas Vazquez for Thiago certainly seemed to cost them on the attacking front.
Further, the Spanish tactician seems to have cultivated a bad habit of leaving his substitutions a tad too late. It was Iago Aspas who ultimately saved the side from humiliation, but it makes you wonder - what if he had been brought on earlier than the 74th minute?
Andres Iniesta may be one of the greatest footballers to have graced the game, but at the age of 34, his tiring legs simply don't seem to be able to carry him for a full 90-minute game. With the likes of Aspas and Marco Asensio at his disposal, Hierro should perhaps opt for youth going forward as it could do wonders for the side.