surinenglish

Spain left to rue wasteful finishing after goalless draw in Euros opener

Spain left to rue wasteful finishing after goalless draw in Euros opener
/ EFE
  • Luis Enrique's side could not get past a resolute Swedish defence

Spain began their campaign in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament with a goalless draw against Sweden in Seville on Monday evening. Despite several good chances and dominating possession, Spain were ultimately unable to break the deadlock and had to settle for a point.

In front of a lively crowd of over 10,000 at La Cartuja stadium, Spain made a bright start and winger Dani Olmo’s header forced a good close-range save from Swedish keeper Robin Olsen after 15 minutes. Shortly afterwards, Koke dragged a shot wide of the goal. Throughout the half, Spain controlled the ball against an opponent content to sit back and defend in the Seville heat.

Undoubtedly the best chance of the opening period fell to Álvaro Morata around ten minutes before the break. The Atlético Madrid man should have done better but failed to hit the target in a one-on-one with Olsen.

Just before the whistle, it was Spain’s turn to defend and Marcos Llorente had to hook the ball off the line to keep out Alexander Isak.

Into the second half, the pattern of play established in the opening stages continued and the vast majority of Spain’s attacking play came down the left-hand side from captain Jordi Alba, who gave veteran Swedish fullback Mikael Lustig a challenging evening. Even so, there were still signs of danger at the back for Spain and, when the lively Isak fashioned an opportunity, Aymeric Laporte was needed to block the shot of the on-rushing Marcus Berg.

To freshen up things, Luis Enrique made a series of changes. Among the introductions were Pablo Sarabia and Gerard Moreno, who replaced Olmo and the ineffectual Morata respectively. Just as the game seemed to be petering out, these two linked up to almost give Spain the winner. Sarabia played in Gerard, but he was foiled by a brilliant stop from Olsen, who was arguably the best player on the pitch. Moments later, Olsen was again on hand to save his team, this time keeping out Sarabia after another Alba cross. Deep into stoppage time, Gerard’s header went wide and Spain’s chances of winning evaporated.

Credit must go to Sweden, who put in a solid team performance to earn a well-deserved point.

Spain will look to get over their disappointment when they play Poland on Saturday evening, also in Seville (kick-off 9pm).