Football

Del Bosque: Spain need to rise up against Italy

Del Bosque tells Spain not to dwell on Croatia setback

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has admitted that a Round-of-16 clash against Italy is not the tie they wanted after a defeat by Croatia yesterday morning (Singapore time) saw the defending European champions finish second in Group D.

A late winner from Ivan Perisic sealed a 2-1 comeback victory for the Croatians, who usurped Spain to finish top and leave del Bosque's side with a repeat of the Euro 2012 final against Italy in Paris on Monday.

Alvaro Morata's early goal had given Spain the lead, but Nikola Kalinic equalised just before half-time.

Spain defender Sergio Ramos saw a penalty saved and Perisic beat David de Gea at his near post to complete a memorable comeback for Ante Cacic's side.

PRECARIOUS

Spain are now in the same half of the Euro 2016 draw as Italy, Germany, France and England and del Bosque (right) conceded facing Italy so early on was not on his agenda.

"It's a game it looked like we had under control," he said. "We will try and recover as well as possible from this setback and be in as good condition as possible on Monday.

"Even today, we didn't play badly, but this is the result and we need to prepare to play against Italy.

"The players were sat in silence. They don't enjoy losing.

"I'm not going to defend our performance excessively, but I think we played quite well. It was just one slip of concentration at the end.

"I don't have any complaints about the players. We have time to analyse what the game against Italy means.

"We're still in the competition, we are not on the path we wanted to be but we have to rise to the situation."

Everything appeared to be going to plan for Spain, who had not lost a European Championship game since 2004, when Morata stole in to tap home Cesc Fabregas' seventh-minute cross.

But Kalinic flicked home a near-post cross just before the break to level the game and things continued to go Croatia's way when Danijel Subasic kept out Ramos' penalty after David Silva had been fouled.

Andres Iniesta revealed that he was going to take the penalty against Croatia but Ramos was confident.

"I was going to take it, but Ramos was confident and only the one who takes it can miss. The confidence is entirely in whoever wants to take it. We had the misfortune of missing," Iniesta said.

"But we are Spain and we have to remain confident."

Del Bosque also revealed that he had warned Spain's players of the threat posed by Perisic.

"We had spoken about Perisic and how dangerous he was in counter-attacks," del Bosque told Spanish television network Telecino when asked about the Inter Milan striker.

NO EXCUSE

Del Bosque did not offer tiredness as an excuse after he chose the same 11 who had played most of the previous two games.

"We had the game more or less controlled, but we made some errors and they punished us," he said.

"Unfortunately, we can't choose our own path now, which we could have done had we been first."

- Reuters.


735

Nikola Kalinic's goal for Croatia is the first Spain have conceded at the Euros in 735 minutes

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