Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has defended David De Gea after their 2-1 loss to Croatia at Euro 2016.
The Manchester United goalkeeper was beaten at his near post by an 87th-minute winner from Ivan Perisic as the reigning champions suffered their first defeat at the Euros since 2004.
Despite not conceding in Spain’s first two games, De Gea was heavily criticised by Spanish supporters but speaking about his performance, Del Bosque says the Spaniard can’t be blamed for the goals.
“He didn’t have too much work to do, we can’t blame him for the goals,” he said.
“The first was a counter-attack and the second was as well. Everyone is culpable.”
The 24-year-old won a competition between himself and Iker Casillas for a place in Del Bosque’s squad following another excellent year at Old Trafford, which is something that has become the norm.
It was the first time Spain came under pressure from a side having previously dominated possession and most of the chances against Czech Republic and Turkey. Sergio Ramos looked a little bit shaky along with De Gea but Del Bosque was correct in not blaming the young goalkeeper for the loss. After all, Croatia’s winner was deflected off Gerard Pique’s foot which put De Gea off balance completely.
Spain’s tactics ensure that they hold plenty of possession and commit men forward but such a tactic can be susceptible to the counter-attack, this is what Croatia relied and it’s something De Gea can’t be solely blamed for.
They will have to bounce back quickly as they will face Italy in the last 16, which is of course a replay of the 2012 final. Spain won the game 4-0 four years ago but might feel a little more vulnerable having suffered their first defeat in the competition in 12 years.