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first_imgNot yet in top shape but Romeo raring to help Gilas in Taipei Morocco’s Youssef En Nesyri, top, scores his side’s second goal during the group B match between Spain and Morocco at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia, Monday, June 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)SOCHI, Russia — Spain needs to get its defense together if it wants to stay in contention at the World Cup.Players and coach Fernando Hierro know La Roja won’t go much further if it keeps repeating the defensive mistakes it made in the group stage.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding “This is not the right path for us. It will be impossible if we keep conceding so much,” Hierro said. “We need to improve. Every occasion against us is dangerous. If we want to go far in the World Cup, we have to make some adjustments. We have to recognize that this is not working. We have to be self-critical and recognize that we can’t concede like this. We suffered too much.”One of the pre-tournament favorites, Spain hasn’t impressed so far and just made it through to the round of 16 after a 2-2 draw against Morocco on Monday in Kaliningrad.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSolid defense had been one of the team’s hallmarks, but it has conceded five goals in its first three matches in Russia.“Beginning now it’s ‘win or go home,’ and we can’t keep giving away goals like that,” midfielder Francisco “Isco” Alarcon said. “We need to get more focused. We are not being able to do what we do best, which is to control the match.” LATEST STORIES MOST READ “We know it’s going to be a tough opponent, playing in Moscow, in front of its fans,” Hierro said. “We know there is no easy match in this World Cup. We have to be concerned about improving our own team, avoiding making it easy for them to create scoring opportunities against us. If Spain plays at its best, it can beat anybody.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cloudy skies over Luzon due to amihan The first goal conceded by Spain on Monday came after a mix-up between captain Sergio Ramos and veteran Andres Iniesta while they exchanged passes near midfield. Neither committed to the ball, and Morocco forward Khalid Boutaib ran with it to score the opener. The second goal was a header by Youssef En-Nesyri, who was not well-marked after a cross into the Spanish area.“If we want to achieve bigger goals, we have to change the attitude,” Ramos said. “We need to become more balanced and more secure defensively. In the attack we have the talent that makes the difference.”Spain’s equalizer came with substitute Iago Aspas in stoppage time on a play that had to be confirmed by video review after the linesman raised the flag for offside. La Roja had already been benefited from FIFA’s video assistant referee in its previous game, when Iran’s potential equalizer didn’t count after a review. Spain ended up winning 1-0. Its first match was a 3-3 draw against Portugal in which Cristiano Ronaldo had a hat trick.Spain still won Group B thanks to Portugal’s 1-1 draw against Iran in a match that also was influenced by VAR. Spain and Portugal finished with five points each, but La Roja had the tiebreaker advantage because it scored more goals, six to five.Spain, trying to rebound from early eliminations at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European Championship, will face host Russia in the round of 16.ADVERTISEMENT Christopher Tolkien, son of Lord of the Rings author, dies aged 95 Bicol riders extend help to Taal evacuees Taal victims get help from Kalayaan town Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Harvey Weinstein rape trial Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more