• Press review: Spain set up last 16 clash with Russia after snatching late draw against eliminated Morocco

    (RT) A dramatic late goal from Iago Aspas produced an extraordinary climax to Group B, with Spain capturing first place following a 2-2 draw with Morocco, due to events in a parallel match between Portugal and Iran.

    Morocco, who played well in their first two games, but only managed to get on the scoresheet once their fate was sealed, leave Russia with their heads held high, and a distinct feeling of what might have been.

    The Mediterranean rivals made their intentions clear from the start, with a series of niggles and hard tackles that produced four Morocco yellow cards in the first half, though the sides settled as the game went on.

    Following an exchange of back passes that lulled Spain’s own players into torpitude, a terrible mix-up between Iniesta and Sergio Ramos set Khalid Boutaib racing free from the half-way line. The striker stared down David de Gea before launching the ball confidently between the keeper’s legs.

    Spain struck back almost immediately, with Iniesta slicing through Morocco’s penalty box, before crossing to Isco, who swept the assist into the roof of the net.

    But despite pretty patterns in midfield, Spain was not able to assert control, with Boutaib enjoying another one-to-one chance, stopped by De Gea this time, and Gerard Pique receiving a let-off from the referee for a studs-up, two-footed tackle that could have been a red card in a different game.

    Morocco came out to play in the second half, with Nordin Amrabat smashing a 30-yard effort into the very top corner of the goal, only for the ball to bounce back out, all before de Gea had a chance to react.

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