Free-scoring Spain show-off Euro title credentials
If there were fears among Spain’s fans about the side’s ability to score goals after a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in their Group D opener, they were allayed against Turkey on Friday.
The approach that mesmerises with a version of the beautiful game based on pinpoint passing to carve up defences, and which saw Spain claim two straight European titles and a World Cup, re-emerged in a one-sided 3-0 triumph against the hapless Turks.
Spain severely punished opponents who tried to copy the Czechs by playing deep but lacked discipline and had plenty of holes. The passing was sublime and resulted in three fine goals in the most comprehensive victory at the tournament so far.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who believed he had the right tactics against the Czechs despite the narrow victory, named an unchanged side and lavished praise on the team after the 3-0 win. “Frankly, we are playing really well,” he said.
Spain had a passing accuracy rate of 92 percent and they completed 619 passes with midfield maestros Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets outstanding on the night.
He did not have to wait until the 87th minute to celebrate this time, as had been the case on Monday when Iniesta set up Gerard Pique for the only goal against the Czechs.
Turkey’s defence failed to cope with Spain’s fast and incisive passing. Iniesta, voted Man of the Match for a second straight game, created Spain’s second goal when his pass to an unmarked Jordi Alba cut Turkey’s defence wide open.
Alba then fed the predatory Alvaro Morata, who fired into an empty net having already put Spain ahead.
To put on such a marvellous show with the grandeur that Spain display would be worthless if the build-up did not lead to goals, so what has to be equally encouraging is that Del Bosque’s squad appears to have the players to capitalise.
Morata, who once broke Real Madrid hearts with goals for Juventus in their Champions League showdown of 2015, had the killer instinct and finishing touch against Turkey.
“They said strikers could not score in this team,” Morata said. “I used to watch Spain play on TV and now I’m getting to enjoy playing with this side. It’s a dream.”
The impressive Nolito also delivered on the big stage with Spain’s second goal, continuing what has been his own dream season after a terrific year in La Liga with Celta Vigo.
Friday’s win should add weight to the predictions of many that Spain are favourites to capture a third straight European title, and it should also win them many more admirers.
The victory has done something else. It marked an historical achievement as Spain became the first nation to win 100 games covering European Championship qualifiers and finals.
In contrast, Turkey are likely to suffer an early Euro 2016 exit with no points from two games as they head into their final Group D match against the Czech Republic next week.