Spain had been unable to show their dominance of possession into targets as they had been held to a scoreless draw by Sweden in Sevilla.
In a one-sided first half, Spain had quite a few possibilities to take the lead, with Dani Olmo forcing a robust cease from Robin Olsen and Koke going shut. Alvaro Morata, who retained his beginning berth forward of Gerard Moreno, had his facet’s greatest alternative however wasted the prospect after discovering himself by on purpose.
However for all of Spain’s dominance, it was Sweden who got here closest to taking the lead. Alexander Isak was largely a spectator for almost all of the primary half earlier than bursting into the Spain field shortly earlier than half-time and firing a low shot at purpose that was diverted onto the publish by Marcos Llorente.
Spain’s passing slowed after the break and Luis Enrique’s facet appeared in need of concepts. Isak arrange Marcus Berg for an additional Sweden likelihood that, if taken, would have been fully in opposition to the run of play – however which ought to have provided Spain a warning that they wanted to attain themselves.
Moreno was introduced on with 20 minutes to go and had the very best of a flurry of late possibilities, however Olsen remained unbeaten as Spain’s evening led to frustration.
Listed below are 5 issues we realized from this Group E opener…
Spain gained’t fear contenders
It’s not the way you begin main tournaments, it’s the way you end them – however Spain’s opening efficiency of Euro 2020 wouldn’t have nervous the likes of France, Belgium or England.
Spain, famously, misplaced their opening match of the 2010 World Cup however completed as champions, however they’re a a lot completely different staff now. Below Enrique’s rebuild they nonetheless look nice on the attention however a few of the acquainted problems with the previous few years had been obvious right here once more.
Regardless of having an amazing quantity of possession, they lacked a leading edge and appeared desperately in need of tempo late on within the match. Regardless of holding a clear sheet, the defensive duo of Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres struggled at occasions to cope with Alexander Isak.
A goalless draw shouldn’t be the tip of the world however Spain’s efficiency won’t have made many in Europe sit up and take discover. They need to nonetheless qualify from Group E – however on this proof a deep run on this match seems to be past them.
After his 32-goal season was adopted up by being given Spain’s quantity 9 shirt, it appeared sure that Gerard Moreno would line the ahead line for Luis Enrique’s facet at these Euros.
However in Spain’s Group E opener, it was Juventus ahead Alvaro Morata who obtained the nod. It wouldn’t have been a well-liked decide among the many Spanish devoted – in spite of everything, Morata was booed by sections of his house followers following Spain’s goalless draw with Portugal earlier than the match.
Morata’s end halfway by the primary half was one among a participant brief on confidence in entrance of purpose who had lately been by such an ordeal. It was tame and unconvincing, simply at a time the place Spain wanted a ruthless striker to show their dominance into a gap purpose. One other disappointing night for the Juventus striker right here led to him being taken off shortly after the hour-mark.
Moreno, in the meantime, was finally introduced on by Enrique late on together with his facet in determined want of a winner. The Villarreal man had a golden alternative himself with a header from shut vary from Sarabia’s cross, however he was unable to beat Olsen.
Regardless of spending the vast majority of his match chasing the ball, Alexander Isak was in a position to provide a glimmer of why there’s a lot pleasure across the Actual Sociedad striker.
With Sweden spending a lot time dropped into their very own half, the 21-year-old solely had two alternatives to get on the ball and stretch the play – however on each events his facet got here near taking an unlikely lead.
He appeared to have the beat of Spain’s two centre-backs, and each Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres misplaced out on their one-on-one battles with the striker.
The frustration for Sweden was that he was not concerned extra, and that he was taken off halfway by the second half. The staff’s attacking menace disappeared with it however there have been particular indicators that Isak may cause issues for the remainder of Group E in upcoming video games in opposition to Poland and Slovakia.
This isn’t what you would possibly anticipate from Spain however in opposition to Sweden Enrique’s facet appeared to ship the ball early into the field, and infrequently – particularly within the opening 20 minutes. Ferran Torres, Koke and Dani Olmo all produced correct crosses into the realm within the first half, with different members of the staff trying to assault the six-yard field.
Whether or not this was by instruction is difficult to say, however maybe Enrique needed his facet to be extra incisive and pace up their assaults. It might have been to dissuade his facet from spending spells of the sport passing the ball aimlessly across the fringe of the Sweden field, which their Group E opponents might have been anticipating.
The standard of a few of these deliveries declined sharply after half-time, and Spain had been a lot much less threatening because of this. There was an actual lack of urgency and tempo to their play after the break, in addition to a sudden lack of high quality from large areas.
…and their urgent
Spain’s ferocious urgent ensured they retained possession and contributed to their absurd dominance of the opening 45 minutes- they’d 83 per cent of the ball and accomplished 419 passes, essentially the most in a primary half at a European Championships since data started.
Sweden appeared exhausted chasing shadows within the warmth of Sevilla and struggled to string any passes collectively. Even their technical gamers, akin to Kristoffer Olsson, discovered it robust to discover a team-mate, with the Krasnodar midfielder resorting to booting the ball downfield within the fifteenth minute prefer it was the ultimate seconds of a cup remaining.
It offered the constructing blocks for what ought to have been a cushty opening win – however their ending allow them to down.