Spain’s Dominating Victory over Croatia 3-0 in Euro 2024 Opener

Spain kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign with a commanding 3-0 victory over Croatia in Group B. Historic performances and efficient gameplay defined the match, setting a promising tone for La Roja.

Luis de la Fuente’s team included goals from Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz, and Dani Carvajal; Lamine Yamal, the youngest player in the competition’s history, made an impression.

Spain’s Dominating Victory over Croatia 3-0 in Euro 2024 Opener
After scoring, teammate Robin Le Normand congratulates Alvaro Morata. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

Inspired by Barcelona sensation Lamine Yamal, who, at 16 years and 338 days, became the youngest player to ever feature in a European Championship, Luis de la Fuente’s team scored three goals in a dominant first half.

Within three minutes, the first goal was scored by captain Alvaro Morata after a clever through-ball from Fabian Ruiz. Then, the midfielder twisted and turned in the Croatia box to score the second goal himself.

Only two weeks after scoring in the Champions League final, Yamal set up Fabian’s goal and assisted on the third when Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal headed in his excellent cross for his debut on the international scene.

Surprisingly, 38-year-old Luka Modric’s Croatia, competing in his seventh international tournament, had a larger possession percentage than Spain, but their carelessness on defense was severely penalized, and they were unable to take advantage of their opportunities.

Josip Stanisic’s attempt was stopped by Marc Cucurella in the second half, and after substitute Bruno Petkovic won a penalty off Rodri due to an error by Unai Simon, the Spanish goalkeeper saved his spot-kick, and Petkovic scored from the rebound, Croatia had a late goal disallowed for encroachment.

With the exception of an alleged hit to Rodri that resulted in the Manchester City midfielder being substituted late in the game, the outcome epitomizes Spain’s nearly flawless start to the tournament.

The previous record for the youngest player was held by Kacper Kozlowski of Poland, who competed at the most recent European Championship at the age of 17 years and 246 days. Yamal broke that record at 16 years and 338 days.

As if that accomplishment weren’t remarkable enough, the brilliant Barcelona winger continued to contribute significantly to the win and trouble Croatia until his 86th-minute substitution.

While his exquisite diagonal cross that set up the third goal was the high point of his performance, there were many other striking moments as he skillfully used the space behind Croatian left-back Josko Gvardiol, showing off his speed, vision, and one-on-one ability in an exhilarating display.

With this match, Spain’s possession advantage broke a streak of 136 competitive matches that dated back 16 years to the 2008 Euro final. And yet, even though they only had 47% of the ball against Croatia, they still managed to win convincingly thanks to a strong first half performance.

Only eighteen months have passed since Spain’s disastrous penalty shootout defeat to Morocco in the World Cup final. Despite making a thousand passes, they managed just one shot on goal, a figure that perfectly captured their inability to convert possession into opportunities.

It was a very different sensation to see this side on Saturday, with the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal on one wing and the 21-year-old Nico Williams on the other.

Also Read: Euro 2024- Italy Triumphs Over Albania After Record Breaking Early Goal

Spain’s Dominating Victory over Croatia 3-0 in Euro 2024 Opener
After Dani Carvajal scores Spain's third goal against Croatia, he celebrates with his teammates. Photo Credit: Sky Sports
Winger Lamine Yamal of Spain stated:

“I’m thrilled with the win, for my Euro debut and we are all already thinking about the next match.”Whether I play wide or inside, whether I’m creating, attacking, or defending, I’m always there for the coach and the team. whatever is required. Our crew is productive and diligent, and you have witnessed the culmination of months of labor today.

“The way Dani celebrated his goal with me demonstrated that we are a family and that we are very confident. It’s crucial for the team to start with a victory like this, especially against a competitor like this. However, we’re already thinking ahead to the next game.”

Alvaro Morata, captain of Spain, stated:

“I felt our game was good. We placed a great national squad under a lot of strain. This serves as a model for how we should approach every match from the outset.”

Zlatko Dalic, the manager of Croatia: “I thought we handled Spain’s early pressure in the first ten to fifteen minutes.” After that, we took charge, improved, and began to create some opportunities. However, we made a mistake that cost us a goal, and we were never able to recover from that to win the game. It wasn’t very excellent.

He gave the following explanation for the early substitutes of Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric: “We have two big games coming up, against Italy and Albania. I took them off because we were trailing 3-0 at the time and didn’t have many opportunities to win.”

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