Spain had been largely disappointing in their first two games of the tournament, drawing both games and scoring just once. However, against Slovakia, La Roja put in a convincing performance to book their place in the knockout stage.
Luis Enrique’s men came into the game needing a win to confirm their place in the Round of 16, while Slovakia only needed a point. While Spain played on the front foot with intent, Slovakia looked lethargic and off the pace.
Spain’s positive drive quickly paid off, as they were awarded a penalty barely ten minutes into the game after Koke was fouled in the box.
Alvaro Morata stepped up to take the penalty after his strike partner Gerard Moreno failed to convert his spot-kick in the previous game. However, the Juventus man could not do any better, as his tame effort was saved by Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
The missed penalty did not deter Spain, as they kept up the pressure and did not allow their visitors any time on the ball. La Roja deservedly took the lead at the half-hour mark through an own goal from Dubravka.
Spain scored their second goal right before the half-time whistle when Aymeric Laporte rose highest in the box to turn home a floated cross from Gerard Moreno.
The second half began in a similar vein as Spain continued to attack Slovakia. The hosts soon extended their lead before the hour mark when Pablo Sarabia swept home a low cross from Jordi Alba.
Luis Enrique’s men were in cruise mode as they added their fourth and fifth goals to comfortably secure second place in the group.
The result means Spain will take on Croatia next Monday in the Round of 16 as they look to secure a record fourth European Championship title. On that note, let’s have a look at the Spain player ratings in the game.
Spain Player Ratings:
Unai Simon – 7/10
The Spain goalkeeper had nothing to do all game, as Slovakia had no shots on target. Simon was tidy in possession all game.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 7/10
Making his first start for Spain since 2018, the Chelsea defender put in a decent shift. Azpilicueta was ready to go forward and created two chances before he was substituted in the 77th minute.
Eric Garcia – 7/10
Garcia made his first start for Spain at Euro 2020 and looked assured in possession. The newly signed Barcelona defender was also quick to snuff out any threat Slovakia posed before he was replaced by Pau Torres in the 71st minute.
Laporte scored his first-ever international goal in what was only his fourth appearance for Spain, heading home shortly before half-time. The Manchester City defender was a presence in the opposition box in Spain’s numerous set pieces. He completed all but one of his attempted passes against Slovakia.
Jordi Alba – 7.5/10
Alba provided the assist for Spain’s third goal of the game, picking out Pablo Sarabia with a low ball into the box. He was the most lively of Spain’s starting full-backs.
Sergio Busquets – 7/10
Busquets was tidy in possession and was a calming presence in midfield for Spain. He completed 100% of his long passes and aerial duels. It was a superb performance from him following his recovery from COVID-19.
Koke – 7.5/10
A real warrior in midfield for La Roja, Koke won a penalty for his team early in the game with one of his many adventurous runs into the box. He was very solid on the ball and refused to be bullied by the feisty Slovakia defenders.
Pedri – 7/10
Pedri was energetic in midfield for Spain. He received the ball in half-space and looked to propel his side forward in search of goalscoring opportunities.
Gerard Moreno – 7.5/10
It was a solid shift from the Villareal man. Moreno floated a wonderful cross for Laporte to convert despite being under pressure from the Slovakian goalkeeper. Moreno completed all his attempted dribbles and created two chances for his team.
Pablo Sarabia – 8.5/10
The Paris Saint-Germain man struck the crossbar with a thunderous effort which led to Spain’s first goal of the game. Sarabia also got an assist in the game, playing in a low ball from the right for Ferran Torres to flick in.
Alvaro Morata – 6.5/10
After failing to impress in his previous outings, Morata came under even more pressure, as he fluffed his penalty early in the game. However, he picked himself up and was very lively all game. His link-up play with his midfielders and others attackers was spot on before he was replaced by Ferran Torres in the 66th minute.
Player Ratings of Spain substitutes:
Ferran Torres – 7.5/10
The Manchester City man scored with his first touch of the game, making a late run at the near post to cleverly flick the ball past Dubravka.
🚨 | GOAL UPDATE: Ferran Torres scores with his first touch!— Sportskeeda Football (@skworldfootball) June 23, 2021
Another brilliant header by another substitute which resulted in another own goal by Slovakia! 🤦
🅰️- Sarabia 67'
🇸🇰 0-5 🇪🇸 [Torres 67', Kucka 71' [OG]]#SVK #ESP #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/vSEVGJe4HJ
The Liverpool man came on for Sergio Busquets in the final 20 minutes of the game and put in a very impressive shift. He completed all but one of his ground duels in what was a very lively cameo.
Pau Torres – 7/10
Pau Torres almost scored with his first touch of the game when he crept in at the back post and headed goalwards. Dubravka’s save on his close-range attempt was turned in by Kucka for an own goal.
Adama Traore – 7/10
The explosive winger came on for the final 13 minutes of the game and managed to complete the most dribbles on the pitch, making three successful dribbles.
Mikel Oyarzabal – 7/10
He came on late and had a quiet cameo.
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