Spain top group after thrilling finale

World Cup 2018
Spain top group after thrilling finale

Spains objective at the start of the match was simple: to stay top of Group B. Though already eliminated, Morocco had an objective of their own: to ensure they did not leave the competition goalless.

Morocco were the first to fulfil their aim, as forward Khalid Boutaib capitalised on a misunderstanding between Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta to sprint clear and slip the ball under David De Gea with 14 minutes on the clock. Clearly stung, La Roja took just five minutes to reply, with Iniesta slipping the perfect pass to Isco, who fired home from close range.

That was not the cue for the Spanish machine to click into gear, however, as the Atlas Lions continued to make life difficult for them. Boutaib scampered clear once more only to be denied by De Gea, and though Diego Costa was inches away from converting another pinpoint Iniesta pass before the break, the Moroccans went close yet again when Nourredine Amrabat struck the angle of post and bar with a fizzing drive ten minutes into the second half.

Spains 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. But just when Morocco though the points were theirs, Iago Aspas scored with a fine back-heeled flick in stoppage time as Spain ultimately made first place theirs.

Team reporter analysis

Antia Andre, with Spain Follow on Twitter
In their final group match Spain had to settle for a share of the points, secured in dramatic fashion by Aspas injury-time strike. The Spanish had earlier passed up several chances to take the lead in a match lit up by some sparkling interplay between Isco and Iniesta. Defensive errors ultimately cost La Roja the win but not top spot in the section.

Gallery: Spain 2-2 Morocco
1 / 19 Gallery: Spain 2-2 Morocco
1 / 19 Gallery: Spain 2-2 Morocco
Gallery: Spain 2-2 Morocco
1 / 19 Spain v Morocco: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his

25 Jun 2018

KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 25: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Spain and Morocco at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 25, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Getty Images

Spain v Morocco: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his

25 Jun 2018

KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 25: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Spain and Morocco at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 25, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Getty Images

Spain v Morocco: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his Spain v Morocco: Iago Aspas of Spain celebrates after scoring his

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