Spain coach Fernando Hierro acknowledges that his team’s defending performance must be improved in the knockout stages if Spain aims to progress further in the competition.

Iago Aaspas salvaged a point for La Furia Roja at injury time neutralizing Morocco’s 2-1 lead and ensuring Group B top spot.

But they were somewhat lucky to have won the group as Portugal were held 1-1 by Iran in Saransk, thanks to a late Karim Ansarifard penalty.

The 2010 champions had to trail the game twice in Kaliningrad to a Morocco team who were goalless in their last two group matches.

“We said this would be a tough match,” Hierro told reporters after the game.

“We knew full well Morocco would fight, they have an excellent team, they only lost their two games 1-0 when they deserved much more.

“The first conclusion I draw is that, despite all these challenges, we were on top, so I need to look at the silver lining. Obviously, there are things we need to improve and we’re going to be self-critical.

“Five goals in three matches is not the way forward and it’s what I’ve told my players. They’re professionals, they understand the situation.”