Spain coach Fernando Hierro has warned his players to take nothing for granted despite a 1-0 win over Iran which puts them on the brink of qualifying for the World Cup knockout stages.
Diego Costa’s fortuitous 54th-minute strike proved enough to see off the Iranians and means Spain will guarantee a top-two finish in Group B if they take a point off already-eliminated Morocco.
But Hierro insists the problems posed by Iran – who thought they had equalised only for Saeid Ezatolahi’s effort to be ruled out by the video assistant referee – indicate there can be no guarantees in Russia.
Hierro said in the post-match press conference:
“I think there are 32 great teams here at this World Cup and no-one is giving anything away, so anyone who thinks it is going to be very easy to score and win by a landslide is wrong.
“In some groups two teams have already qualified, but our group is very tough. Morocco lost 1-0 to Portugal but they were fighting to the end.”
Hierro acknowledged his own team will need to improve after they allowed themselves to grow frustrated with Iran’s dogged defensive performance until Costa’s timely breakthrough.
“As a 23-man group we are very committed – we are one team and that is how we will play until the end,” added Costa. “We know we still need to improve but hopefully as we do that we will keep winning.”