Spain struggled with problems on Monday, as a series of missed opportunities allowed Sweden to participate in a goalless draw at the opening of Euro 2020 in Seville. Alvaro Morata wasted the best opportunity in an effective first half, giving Spain 419 passes, the most of any team recorded in the first 45 minutes of a match at the European Championship.
Morata was whistled by his own fans when he was replaced with 25 minutes remaining, and Luis Enrique is now facing questions about his decision to leave Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno, who last season scored 23 Goals.
Spain lost momentum and Sweden could have won it too, with the excellent Alexander Isak hitting the post before his strike partner Marcus Berg missed a seater by two meters.
“They decided to defend, defend and defend. It was a very unfair result,” said Luis Enrique, who also complained about the field. “The players struggled to control the ball,” he said.
Slovakia raised the stakes for Saturday’s game between Spain and Poland after a stunning 2-1 win over Poland, a goalless draw leaves Spain to retire in Group E when a loser had difficulty in qualifying.
Another failure to convert possession into chances is a reminder of the recent disappointments for Spain, especially when they were disappointed in the 2018 World Cup before Russia came out on a penalty.
Following that defeat, Luis Enrique was tasked with ushering in a new era as a coach, a project that involved fostering a new crop of players but also a more direct, penetrating style.
His team was impressive in the first half, far from some passing shows, which made Spain old in recent major tournaments.
But the second half, perhaps due to lack of confidence or clarity, given that the team could not train together for much of the last week, separated as per protocol after Sergio Busquets, is still absent, and Diego Llorente tested positive for Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Sweden coach Janne Andersson promised on Sunday that his team would “run like hell” and not only did he defend himself perfectly, but he undoubtedly crafted two of his best chances of the match.
Watch the football results and match highlights of the Spain and Sweden Euro 2020 match
- / 18 hours ago
Aberdeen has commissioned a statue to honour former manager Alex Ferguson. The Scottish club...
- / 1 day ago
Manchester City is set to hand a new contract to key players from the...