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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Spain coach says there is room for improvement

Spain defeated Iran 3-1 in the quarterfinals and will now face Mali in the FIFA U-17 World Cup semifinals.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Oct 22, 2017 23:14 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, Kochi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Spain vs Iran
Spanish players celebrate after scoring a goal against Iran during their FIFA U-17 World Cup quarterfinal in Kochi on Sunday.(PTI)

Spain put in one of their best displays to beat a resolute Iran side. Facing a well-organised backline, the European champions used the flanks effectively to score thrice. However, despite their domination throughout the match, Spain coach Santiago Denia insisted his side has a lot to improve upon in order to go a couple of steps further and win the title. (Spain vs Iran highlights)

“There is room for improvement on both sides of the field. We are still conceding goals, and we are creating chances but not finishing them off,” he said.

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“It’s great that we have six players who have scored goals in this competition, but we need to keep creating chances and finish them off. We always want to have more possession, but the idea is to move the ball forward. Considering Iran’s previous games, (one of which) they won 4-0 against Germany with very less possession, we had to identify where to keep the ball and how to move forward,” Denia elaborated on his tactics against Iran.

“It was clear to us that if we are very direct when attacking Iran through the middle, we may give them space to counter attack. I understood that the way to play against them was to be better with more players on the sides of the field to avoid attacking through the middle.”

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: Spain outclass Iran 3-1, to face Mali in semifinals

With a last-four encounter against Mali up next, Spain will have to wait till Monday to find out the seriousness of the injury suffered by midfielder Sergio Gomez, who was stretchered off shortly after scoring the team’s second goal.

Denia’s Iranian counterpart Abbas Chamanian lauded the winners, and conceded that his side had shown his opponents too much respect in the first half.

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“Absolutely (we showed them too much respect). I said this in my talk to the players as we did not get a good start in the first half. Our players are still young. A problem today was the (lack of a) connection between the defenders and the forwards,” he said.

Chamanian, however, credited his team for their run to the quarterfinal. “I think the best result from these five games is the positive vision shown by my country. This is a generation that can build our future (in football),” he said.

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 23:14 IST