David de Gea had a forgettable World Cup debut as goalkeeper for Spain but quickly turned his focus to the bigger picture for the national team.
“We didn’t even lose,” he said after Spain’s 3-3 draw with Portugal to open Group B.
De Gea had a blunder late in the first half that allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score the second of his three goals from a relatively basic shot. It was Ronaldo who made De Gea’s first World Cup match miserable from start to finish on Friday night.
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot in the opening minutes, and he finished his performance with a perfect free-kick in the final moments to earn the draw for Portugal.
But it was that middle goal, on the cusp of half-time, which a goalkeeper the stature of De Gea should stop – even if one of the world’s best players is taking the shot.
“Mistakes can happen to anyone. It was a difficult ball,” De Gea said. “We have to keep training and keep working.
“We have an important match against Iran coming up. If we win, we will be taking a big step towards qualifying.
“It’s football. One day you are worthless, the next you are very good. We have to move on.”
Spanish coach Fernando Hierro gave no indication he was considering any sort of change, with Pepe Reina or Kepa Arrizabalaga as back-ups.
He said: “We don’t have any doubts about De Gea and he doesn’t have any doubts about himself either.”