After underwhelming in their opening two matches of the Euros, Spain finally clicked into gear in their final group game by trouncing Slovakia 5-0.
Having struggled to find a cutting edge against Sweden and Poland despite dominating possession heavily, Luis Enrique’s men produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the Round of 16, where they’ll play Croatia.
Coming under heavy criticism ahead of the Slovakia game, the Spanish press was full of negativity in the build up to the do or die clash. Spain’s emphatic victory certainly went a long way towards silencing the doubters.
When Spain missed an early penalty, their fifth in a row, many thought the writing was on the wall. But La Roja responded brilliantly by keeping up the pressure on their adversaries.
Eventually they were rewarded, as Martin Dubravka’s error gifted them the lead. This proved just the catalyst they needed, as Aymeric Laporte’s excellent header ensured they went into the break 2-0 up.
Courtesy of Wiki
With Pedri and Pablo Sarabia hitting their stride in the second half, goals from the latter and Ferran Torres propelled Spain to a 4-0 lead, as Spain capitalised on their momentum. Another own goal, this time from Juraj Kucka, made it five, as Spain incredibly equalled the biggest winning margin in Euros history.
Putting in an excellent collective performance, in a match where they completely outclassed their opponents, Enrique rightfully cut a delighted figure after the match. “Obviously the cork has popped out of the bottle,” he gleamed.
“We are delighted for the joy we gave to the fans and their families, the staff and their families. Now we have to get another bottle ready and see if we can pop the cork out again.”
Priced at $9 to win the summer showpiece behind France, England, Italy and Germany, Spain will be hoping this is the start of a special run.
Boasting so much quality all over the pitch, there’s every reason to suggest they can go far in the tournament. Their success or failure will ultimately depend on if they can translate their dominance into goals just like they did against Slovakia.
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