Slovakia 0-5 Spain
Spain won their first Euro 2020 match with a thrashing of Slovakia, advancing as Group E runners-up and setting up a last-16 clash with Croatia. Luis Enrique’s team enters the knockout rounds on the back of their finest attacking performance of the tournament, proving much too good for a genuinely under-par Slovakia. Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia, and Ferran Torres all scored after a strange own goal by Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka broke the stalemate at Seville’s La Cartuja Stadium.
The Slovakia goalkeeper, who had earlier saved a penalty from Alvaro Morata, knocked the ball into his own net after Sarabia’s shot hit the crossbar and floated into the air. Juraj Kucka unintentionally completed Juraj Kucka unwittingly completed Spain’s defeat by bundling the ball over his own line from close range. Spain will face Croatia on Monday at 17:00 BST in Copenhagen, while Slovakia will be absent.
Spain shines as the Group E drama unfolds. After draws against Sweden and Poland, in which Spain struggled to hit the net despite having 85 percent and then 76.4 percent possession, Luis Enrique compared his team to a bottle of Cava ready to be uncorked at Euro 2020. This was more evocative of the dazzling football that saw La Roja crowned European champions in 2008 and 2012, either side of a World Cup success, albeit Slovakia did not provide much of a challenge after Dubravka put Sarabia’s shot into his own net instead of aside for a corner. He had saved a penalty from Morata less than 20 minutes ago, whose effort was a comfortable height for the goalie. The penalty, issued after Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers reviewed the pitchside monitor, was Spain’s sixth consecutive missed penalty, and they have failed to score in six of their last nine European Championships. Manchester City defender Laporte headed in Gerard Moreno’s cross to extend Spain’s lead, and quick moves in the second half saw Sarabia and Torres finish expertly from close range, before Slovakia’s poor effort was compounded by a second own goal. More cheers erupted from the Seville crowd, but not for a sixth Spanish goal, but for drama in the second group game, in which Poland rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Sweden with six minutes remaining. That would have resulted in
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That would have put Spain at the top of the group, but Sweden’s 94th-minute winner ensures 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia await.