Spain played out an uneventful goalless draw against Sweden in their opening Group E game of the UEFA Euros 2020.
In a game where they had over 85% ball possession, Spain were made to rue several missed chances as Sweden held on for a crucial point at the Estadio de La Cartuja Stadium.
The game saw little action from the away side, who sat deep with a clear and obvious gameplan: maintain their defensive shape and steal a point from the three-time champions.
After a lengthy spell of possession, Spain came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half when Juventus man Alvaro Morata pounced on a defensive error from the visitors.
However, when faced against Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen, the striker failed to keep his effort on target and rolled it wide as the chance went begging.
With Spain searching for a late first-half lead, Jan Anderson’s men hit back with a swift counterattack, but Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak could only send his deflected shot crashing into the post.
Spain upped the ante in the second half as they sent in wave after wave of attack, but were denied by an inspired Olsen in the Sweden net.
The game finished goalless, with the Everton shot-stopper making an impressive five saves, including a superb 90th-minute stop to deny substitute Gerard Moreno.
The result means Slovakia have maintained their position at the top of Group E, following their impressive 2-1 victory over Poland earlier in the day.
Spain will aim to clean the dust off their feet when they take on Poland next Wednesday, while Sweden lock horns with group leaders Slovakia.
Spain Player Ratings
Unai Simon – 5/10
The Spanish goalkeeper had a silent evening against a defensive-minded Sweden side. He was called to action only once in the game and did well in his ball distribution.
Marcos Llorente – 6.5/10
A tireless performance from the La Liga winner. Llorente played as a right back in the game and was lively down the right for Spain. The Atletico Madrid star constantly supported the attack as he marauded forward to whip in dangerous crosses.
Aymeric Laporte – 6/10
Making his first competitive appearance for Spain, the Manchester City defender had little or nothing to do for most of the game as the Swedish players posed no threat in attack. He did well to hold off Sweden danger man Isak and prevent the striker from hitting his stride in the game.
Pau Torres – 6/10
Alongside Laporte, Torres was largely undisturbed defensively as their Swedish counterparts sat deep in their half. He was solid on the ball and played a huge role in helping his side play out from the back.
Jordi Alba – 6.5/10
Jordi Alba was one of Spain’s best performers in the game. He was a serious threat to the Swedish defence down the left and was solid at the defensive end of the pitch. However, he repeatedly failed to meet his target with his crosses, completing just one of eight attempts.
Koke – 6/10
Koke’s night was marred by several missed chances as he failed to keep his efforts on target. However, he was industrious at the center of the park, completing over 92% of his 102 passes and all five of his attempted long balls. He made two tackles in the game before he was replaced by Fabian Ruiz in the 87th minute.
Rodri – 7/10
The Manchester City midfielder was simply outstanding in his role as he roamed all over the pitch, winning tackles and key duels. He won all four of his attempted duels, including two clearances and one tackle, and was neat and tidy on the ball. He was replaced by Thiago Alcantara in the 66th minute as Spain opted for more firepower in attack.
Pedri – 8/10
A superb individual performance from the breakthrough Barcelona star. He kept Spain ticking at the center of the park and constantly linked up with his teammates. He dictated the flow and tempo of the game for Luis Enrique’s men and hardly put a foot wrong the entire game.
Ferran Torres – 6/10
Ferran Torres struggled to impact the game down the right wing as he was pocketed by the Swedish defenders. He was hooked off for Mikel Oyarzabal in the 74th minute.
Alvaro Morata – 5.5/10
Alvaro Morata put in a disappointing performance. He missed a glorious chance to open the scoring in the first half when he failed to capitalize on a defensive error from Marcus Danielsson. Morata also consistently failed to keep his shots on target before he was replaced by Pablo Sarabia in the 66th minute.
Dani Olmo – 6.5/10
The winger was arguably Spain’s’ most threatening player in attack in the first half. He linked up well with Jordi Alba and Pedri on the left wing and was quite solid defensively, winning a few important duels. He was replaced by Gerard Moreno with 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
Player Ratings for Substitutes
Thiago Alcantara – 6/10
The Liverpool man put in a neat shift after coming off the bench. He was tidy on the ball, completing 80% of his passes and all but one of his six long ball attempts. He also provided a shield in midfield as Spain threw their men forward in search of a winner.
Pablo Sarabia – 5/10
The Paris Saint-Germain man replaced the struggling Alvaro Morata in the 66th minute. However, he failed to make a telling contribution as he looked largely off the pace.
Gerard Moreno – 6.5/10
It was surprising to not see the Villarreal man start, but Moreno injected life into the wavering Spain attack after coming on for Dani Olmo in the 74th minute. The forward also came close to grabbing the winner with a brilliant 90th-minute header but was denied by the fantastic Olsen in goal.
Mikel Oyarzabal – 5/10
He replaced Ferran Torres in the 74th minute but made no impactful contribution in the game.
Fabian Ruiz – N/A
The Napoli man was brought on in the 87th minute as Spain boss Luis Enrique began throwing men on in search of a late winner. He had too little time on the pitch to make an impact on the game.