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Euro 2020: Spain and Sweden draw in a game of misses!

It was the first goalless draw of Euro 2020. Spain were the dominant team but lacked the finishing touch needed too make the difference. In the end, despite all the possession and chances, they had nothing to show for it in the end.

June 15, 2021 / 03:02 AM IST
Spain's Aymeric Laporte looks up at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship group E match between Spain and Sweden at La Cartuja stadium in Seville

Spain's Aymeric Laporte looks up at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship group E match between Spain and Sweden at La Cartuja stadium in Seville

Spain and Sweden were left to rue their missed chances as the game ended in the first goalless draw of the UEFA Euro 2020. The game might have ended as a draw, but Sweden would see it more as a win. They were clutching at straws as Spain mounted relentless attacks. They defended bravely and also had lady luck on their side as they held on for a miraculous draw. It was chance after chance squandered in a game of misses and both teams will be looking to change their fortunes in the games going ahead.

Spain were relentless with their attack in the first half. They attacked from the left, they caused trouble from the right and created a few promising opportunities but missed the finishing touch every time. Olmo’s header on goal was saved by a lunging Olsen. Minutes later, it was Morata who had a chance. It was by far the most promising of chances. Jordi Alba’s cross finds Morata in the middle of the box with plenty of space and just Olsen to beat, but he shoots wide. Spain were squandering their chances and it was bolstering Sweden. And just moments later, Sweden almost made Spain pay for their missed opportunities. Isak almost found the back of the net, but his shot hit the post and into the hands of Sanchez. It was truly a half of misses. Spain held more than 80% of the possession, but they didn’t have anything to show for it as the teams headed into the dressing room.

The second half wasn’t very different from the first. The script remained the same – Spain attacked and attacked and attacked and Sweden prayed that Spain miss their chances.  Isak made a great run into the Spanish box. He had been causing all sorts of trouble for the defenders and wiggled his way through the defense and sent a low cross across the face of goal to Berg, who mishits his tap-in and stumbled over his own legs to give Spain a sigh of relief. The misfiring Morata was taken off by Enrique and Sarabia was brought on in the 66th minute. The hosts had yet another chance in the 73rd minute when Koke's ball found Olmo inside the box, but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Moreno who came in as a substitute in the 74th minute, almost broke the deadlock deep into injury time, but his header was directed straight at Olsen, who did well to keep his cleansheet. Pedri and Thiago continued their metronome up the pitch. Alba send a chipped cross which fell to Sarabia, but he was caught completely unaware and the ball it his leg and went straight to Olsen who was having a very lucky day. Spain dominated possession, racked up over 800 passes but could not find a way through. Before them was a tight, defensive organised Swedish team.

Only six members of this Spain squad played in Russia, a new generation and an unpredictable XI but some of the issues remain. A game where they impressed for forty-five minutes and then drifted in the second half, saw Spain make plenty of chances but not take them. The resultant goalless draw would have been worse when they were twice cut open by the superb Alexander Isak, who first hit the post and then provided for Marcus Berg to somehow pass up a glorious opportunity from close range that would have made this even bigger shock. Both teams will have plenty to think about as they go back to the drawing board.
Neeraj Krishnan

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