Spain 'suffered' against Croatia, admits Iniesta

The Barcelona attacker has expressed his delight at progressing to the quarter-finals, but acknowledged that Slaven Bilic's charges made the task extremely hard

Andres Iniesta admitted that Spain “suffered” during their 1-0 win over Croatia and was delighted to finish as Group C winners after “a tough and very difficult game”.

Second-half substitutes Jesus Navas and Cesc Fabregas combined with the Barcelona man for the former to score the goal two minutes from time, and send Slaven Bilic's men out of the tournament.

Iniesta conceded that the match was “very difficult”, with a win against the Croatians far from a formality.

He told reporters: "Yes, we suffered. It was a tough and very difficult game for us. It's the kind of games where you are close... but not. And that is dangerous.

"We are not machines. We've have said that Croatia have got young and very talented players. We had an important physical wear to resolve the game."

The playmaker also praised his team-mates for their part in the build-up to the goal, which earned all three points for the holders.

The 28-year-old added: "It was spectacular, just in the right moment. Then, I saw Jesus Navas with the blink of an eye, and he just had to put it in."

Iniesta also commented on their prospective quarter-final opponents, claiming that either England, or France could pose a threat, but stated that their progression to the next stage of the competition was the most important task

He continued: "I [have] got no preferences. Both England and France are very strong teams, but the most important thing is that Spain reaches well the next round."