Spain had one of the most frustrating games we have seen in a long time at Euro 2020 as they failed to score against a stubborn Sweden in Seville.
Luis Enrique’s side had 85% possession and dominated proceedings, which at times resembled a session of attack versus defence, but were unable to take advantage of the good opportunities they had with Alvaro Morata fluffing a golden chance to score.
Spain had 17 shot attempts but only 5 on target while Sweden only managed 4 attempts with Unai Simon having to only make one save.
Dani Olmo had a close-range header kept out by Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen, and Koke sliced an effort off target from inside the box.
Sweden’s best chance fell to La Liga‘s young player of the year Alexander Isak, who muscled his way in for a shot that deflected off a Spanish defender, hit the post and looped straight into keeper Simon’s hands.
Isak was a livewire for the Swedes as he created a great opportunity for partner Marcus Berg, who somehow managed to shoot wide from near point-blank range at the back post.
The draw in Seville means Slovakia have the early advantage in Group E of Euro 2020 courtesy of their 2-1 win over Poland earlier on Monday.
In the first half alone, Spain completed 419 passes – the highest figure in the opening 45 minutes of a European Championship game since data specialists Opta began collecting such information in 1980.
What Luis Enrique’s starting XI really lacked was a finisher. Morata has 19 international goals to his name but he did not have the killer instinct when the chance fell to him.
Gerard Moreno – scorer of 30 goals for Villarreal last season – sat on the bench until the 75th minute and missed his own big chance in injury time with a header saved by Olsen. It was one of only two attempts on target in the second half for La Furia Roja.
Sweden will be delighted to have frustrated the Spanish at home. It wasn’t a pretty performance but they were disciplined and resolute in defence.
Manchester United central defender Victor Lindelof was immense and showed why he has been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred central defensive partner for Harry Maguire. The Swede was exemplary in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and this opening game of Euro 2020 is promising for his future.
Spain have work to do to secure a place in the knockouts of Euro 2020.
Group E will now see Sweden head to Saint Petersburg in Russia to face Slovakia on Friday 18 June. Spain face Poland the day after in Seville.