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Spain vs Croatia: How Spain eased past Croatia 3-0 to kick off their Euro 20...

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Published Time: 16.06.2024 - 04:04:24 Modified Time: 16.06.2024 - 04:04:24

You can follow that match with The Athletic's dedicated live blog right here, run by Michael Dominski. Spain vs Croatia, croatia vs spain, Spain


“Italy will be very difficult, another of the best teams in Europe, we have to be at the same level as today, at least, to have a chance to win. We know how difficult it is to win. We want to take another big step forward, and be examples for the in our country.”

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The third and final match today, Italy vs Albania, also in Group B, is set to start shortly.

You can follow that match with The Athletic's dedicated live blog right here, run by Michael Dominski.

Don't miss it!

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Earlier today, Switzerland got their Euro 2024 off to a winning start thanks to a hugely impressive first-half performance from Murat Yakin’s team — and a welcome late return from Breel Embolo.

Having gone 2-0 down in the first half, Hungary battled back after the break and halved the deficit through a Barnabas Varga header.

There were some nervy moments for the Swiss until Embolo punished Willi Orban for a misplaced header and lifted in a third on his first international appearance since the 2022 World Cup.

Below, The Athletic’s Jacob Whitehead and Nick Miller assess the key talking points…

GO FURTHER

Hungary 1 Switzerland 3: Duah gamble pays off and Embolo’s comeback – The Briefing

Spain forward Lamine Yamal today became the youngest player in European Championship history, after starting for Spain against Croatia aged 16 years and 338 days old in his eighth appearance for his country.

The Barcelona winger broke the previous record set by Brighton and Hove Albion’s Kacper Kozłowski, who played for Poland at Euro 2020 aged 17 years and 246 days.

Yamal, who became the youngest ever player to start a Champions League game at the start of 2023-24, is also already the youngest goalscorer in the history of La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.

What a prospect.

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Lamine Yamal: Spain teenager becomes youngest player in European Championship history

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Fabian Ruiz said of 16-year-old team-mate Lamine Yamal: "He's a wonderful player and it's fantastic he's with us."

Dead on.

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Real Madrid's Dani Carvajal, who scored the third goal today, is the first defender ever to score in a European Cup/Champions League final and a European Championship game in the same year.

Remember, he netted for Real Madrid against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in the Champions League final on June 1, too.

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Man-of-the-match Fabian Ruiz, speaking to Spanish TV after the match, said: “Happy for the great game we all played. We knew it would be very difficult, and we suffered until the end, but happy to have got the win against a tough team with great players.

“(Morata) always tells me to look for him with those balls in behind, I am used to his runs. I saw the space and his control and finish was great.

“(For the second goal) Pedri gave me a great pass, when I controlled it Luka covered me, and when I tried to shoot with my right, Brozovic came so I had to go left. I saw a gap between the legs and luckily it went in. So happy to have scored at a Euros, for my country Spain.”

The third match of today is soon upon us.

There have been 13 goals in the three Euro 2024 games so far. Going along at a decent lick.

But no one has scored more than once, meaning we're in a 12-way tie for the Golden Boot as things stand.

Not counting Antonio Rudiger's own goal for Germany against Scotland last night, of course.

(Does that put him on minus one? Probably not).

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Spain captain Alvaro Morata, speaking to Spanish TV Station La 1 after the match, insisted the knock he picked up was not anything serious.

He said: “It was nothing, just a heavy bang, I knew it was 'loading' the rest of the leg. So it was better to come off, for another teammate to enter, who was better than me. I’ll be ready (for the next game).

“I felt good, the team were good, really motivated, we pressed a very good team very well. We have to go for the games from the start, as we did today, and now to think of the next game.”

Discussing how his first shot was saved, but his second found the net, he added: “With the first shot I wanted to surprise the keeper as the pitch was a bit dry.

“For the second chance, I knew the wingers would keep wide and open up the middle of the pitch. Fabian saw the space and he is so good. Then he scored a great goal himself.”

...plus much more reaction to and analysis of the match that just finished.

Stick around.

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Spanish players going to applaud fans in the corner where Spanish supporters were sat.

On their way back to the dressing room, all Spain coaching and backroom staff waiting for the players form a guard of honor to celebrate their performance.

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It was the first real heavyweight meeting of the European Championship — and it ended up being much more one-sided than many expected.

Below, The Athletic's writers Dermot Corrigan, Tim Spiers and Tom Burrows break down the talking points.

Make sure you check out their thoughts!

GO FURTHER

Spain 3 Croatia 0: Lamine Yamal makes history as La Roja impress – The Briefing

Spain’s run of 136 competitive games with more possession than their rival, going back 16 years to Euro 2008 final, is over.

Croatia with 53% of the ball today - and Spain with the 3-0 win.

I reckon winning 3-0 against a very good team is some consolation, though, Dermot!

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Hugely demoralising for Croatia who have let themselves down today.

Albania on Wednesday now becomes a must-win game.

Fabian Ruiz named UEFA's official man of the match - deserved for his impact when the game was in the balance, fantastic assist for the opener, and super finish for the 2-0 goal which really put Spain in control.

Croatia were never at the races from then.

UEFA's Technical Observer Panel praised the Paris midfielder's "really good game", adding he was "always supporting the build-up, assisted Morata for the opener and scored an amazing goal himself".

That's it!

A brilliant start to Euro 2024 for Spain.

A nightmare beginning for Croatia.

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68,844 fans in here today.

Four of the five Real Sociedad players in the Spain squad are on the pitch now.

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