Fri, 06 Aug 2021

Spain began their Euro 2020 campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Sweden in Seville on Monday. Poland face an uphill task after losing 2-1 to Slovakia. And Scotland lost 2-0 to a Czech Republic inspired by Patrik Schick.

Spain's new team struggled with the familiar problems on Monday as a string of missed chances allowed Sweden to hang on for a goalless draw in their Euro 2020 opener in Seville.

Alvaro Morata wasted the best opportunity of a dominant first half, in which Spain churned out 419 passes, the most of any team on record in the opening 45 minutes of a European Championship fixture.

Morata was whistled by his own fans when substituted with 25 minutes left, with manager Luis Enrique now facing questions over his decision to leave out Gerard Moreno, the Villarreal striker who scored 23 goals last season.

Spain lost their rhythm after the interval and Sweden might even have won it, the excellent Alexander Isak hitting the post before his strike partner Marcus Berg missed a sitter from two yards out.

"They decided to defend, defend and defend. It was a very unfair result," said Luis Enrique, who also complained about the pitch. "The players struggled to control the ball," he said.

That goalless draw leaves Spain playing catch-up in Group E after Slovakia earlier pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over Poland, raising the stakes for the game between Spain and Poland on Saturday, when a loser would be left struggling to qualify.

Scotland the grave

After 23 years waiting to join in the party at a major tournament, it took just 90 minutes for the hype and hope that has swept Scotland in recent months to make way to a familiar feeling of disappointment.

The Czech Republic silenced a 12,000 crowd at Hampden on Monday with a 2-0 win thanks to two goals and one moment of magic from Patrik Schick that will live long in the memory.

Schick had already headed the visitors into a half-time lead before he fired home from just short of 50 metres early in the second half having spotted David Marshall well off his line.

Originally published on RFI

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