Spain boss Vicente del Bosque acknowledged that his side have made life difficult themselves after defeat to Croatia saw the defending champions surrender top spot in Group D and a potentially smoother route to the latter stages of Euro 2016.
Inter Milan forward Ivan Perisic netted Croatia’s late winner after former Blackburn Rovers striker Nikola Kalinic had cancelled out Alvaro Morata’s early opener for Spain on the stroke of half time. Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos saw a second-half penalty saved.
By virtue of topping Group D, Croatia will play an as yet undetermined third-placed side in the opening round of the knockout phase in Lens on Saturday, while Spain will face Italy in a heavyweight tussle in Paris on Monday.
“The players were sat in silence. They don’t enjoy losing,” said Del Bosque. “We have time to analyse what the game against Italy means. It wasn’t the path we wanted to take but that’s football.”
Spain’s first defeat in 15 European Championship matches was sealed with three minutes remaining as Perisic lashed a low effort past goalkeeper David de Gea at his near post.