A dramatic night in the World Cup saw Spain lose to Japan but qualify for the knockout stages on goal difference, with Germany crashing out.

Japan’s first goal saw Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon beaten at his near post, getting a hand to Ritsu Doan’s shot, just not strong enough to keep it out.

From a Manchester United point of view, the instant reaction was to believe David de Gea could have done better.

Gary Neville even said as much on ITV’s post-match coverage, and tore into Unai Simon.

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Neville slams Unai Simon

Speaking on ITV, Neville questioned Simon and brought up De Gea, questioning why he was not part of the Spain squad.

He said: “He’s not filled me with confidence. He’s the one part of the team which is a real weak point. He’s got to save that. It’s no good that.

“De Gea’s not at home, I know he’s not been brilliant but he would have saved that. In a knockout game that’s fatal for you.”

Spain manager Luis Enrique has not called De Gea up for the past two years, preferring a more ‘modern goalkeeper’.

However, Unai Simon’s shot-stopping ability is clearly inferior to the Manchester United star.

De Gea has also made real improvements to his game under new United boss Erik ten Hag, and is a man in form, keeping nine clean sheets this season already.

Neville’s comments downplay his recent form. De Gea’s performances from September to November have given him a chance of earning a new deal.

A recent report in The Athletic claimed Unai Simon was even on United’s shortlist of possible De Gea successors, along with Porto’s Diogo Costa.

His performance last night won’t have done him any favours – Neville will be of the opinion that United would be better sticking with De Gea.

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