Fernando Hierro could ‘stop the bleeding of Spain’ by dropping David de Gea for the World Cup knockout stages.
Spain topped Group B after a night of drama on Monday, with their position coming under significant threat at various points.
They fell behind to Morocco twice before salvaging a 2-2 draw, while Portugal and Iran played out a pulsating draw in the other game.
An uncharacteristic defensive frailty has defined Spain’s tournament thus far, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick in the opening game meaning they have already conceded five goals in this tournament.
According to AS journalist Joaquin Maroto, who is with the Spain camp in Russia, De Gea could be dropped for the last-16 tie with the hosts.
The Manchester United goalkeeper’s ‘credit is exhausted’ and his place in the starting line-up is ‘not eternal’.
Maroto adds that the defence has been blighted by a ‘lack of confidence’ that De Gea is not helping with.
Hierro is reported to be considering starting Kepa Arrizabalaga in his place against Russia, with Nacho also likely to return to the side to provide ‘technique and physicality’ in midfield alongside Sergio Busquets.