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Leaky Spain count luck at topping group

Leaky Spain count luck at topping group

Leaky Spain count luck at topping group

Injury-time goals in both Group B ties changed the complexion of the knockout stages dramatically as Spain set up a last 16 encounterwith the hosts Russian Federation in Luzhniki.

A controversial late penalty, given to Iran after the video assistant referee intervened to harshly adjudge Cedric Soares had handled in the area, saw Portugal slip from top spot to second in Group B. Spain got the point it needed when Iago Aspas flicked in a Dani Alves cross in stoppage time.

The African side secured their only point of the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Spain here on Monday.

Hierro, having succeeded the sacked, Real Madrid-bound Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament, has overseen a 3-3 draw with Portugal, a 1-0 win over Iran, and now this result.

"Obviously we can improve and there are things we definitely need to work on".

Portugal finished the game while progressing from the group stage.

"We know it is going to be a tough match, always when you play against teams who are eliminated you don't know what they are going to do - it could be a big surprise". In the second match, Spain defeated Iran 1-0.

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If Iran defeats Portugal in its final game, it will advance.

"I hope we will be galvanized by what has been inflicted on us", the Frenchman said. "But now we need to be very demanding with ourselves and have clearly in mind that if we concede goals so easily, it will be very hard to reach our ultimate goal". "But despite the challenges we faced, we have emerged on top and we must look at that silver lining and think positively", Hierro told a news conference.

If both Portugal and Spain win, the victor of the group comes down to goal differential.

Montreh Fayoud, one of the several Iranian women that are attending their first World Cup, disagreed. "We had a big chance at the end of the game, we could have scored and won it".

Sergio Ramos has drawn level with former goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta as the second most capped Spanish player in World Cups, with 16 appearances.

"We've showed that we can take on two of the best teams in the world, Portugal and Spain".

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