Spain 3-0 Croatia | Spectacular Ruiz leads the way
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Spain 3-0 Croatia | Spectacular Ruiz leads the way

15/06/24 18:36

PSG midfielder Fabian Ruiz starred in a spectacular Spanish performance with a goal and an assist to help La Roja beat Croatia 3-0 and earn a massive three points in the opening fixture of Group B at EURO 2024.

What many people thought would be a tight battle between two European footballing giants ended up being a one-sided contest, which has opened our eyes to the sheer quality that Spain has, and how far they could go in this tournament.

Spain took the lead in the 29th minute after a perfectly weighted through ball from Fabian Ruiz put Alvaro Morata through on goal, and you wouldn’t expect any less from the Atletico Madrid forward than to convert it emphatically and make it 1-0 to La Roja.

Three minutes later Spain doubled their lead with some individual brilliance from Ruiz to dribble the ball through three Croatian players before the ball deflected off of Josip Sutalo in the back of Dominik Livakovic’s net.

Croatia had a chance to pull one goal back in the 42nd minute when Josko Gvardiol crossed the ball right across the face of the Spanish goal, but Andrej Kramaric just missed the chance to tap it in at the far post.

Spain further cemented their advantage with the last touch of the first half after a fantastic ball was whipped into the box by Lamine Yamal to find Dani Carvajal who tapped the ball into the net after just about managing to stay onside, a fantastic finish and one that potentially put the nail in the coffin for Croatia. 16-year-old Yamal has now become the youngest player to ever play in a European Championship.

By half time the three time European Champions had the game in both of their hands, and it would take a lot for Croatia to get any points by full time.

Spain started the second half much like they ended the first, with a couple of great chances involving wonderkid Yamal.

Marc Cucurella made an incredible goal line clearance to stop the Vatreni from scoring in the 54th minute, and the Croatians proceeded to miss a couple of very easy follow up shots. Nothing seemed to be going the way of the 2018 World Cup finalists.

Spain spent the majority of the second half playing a game of keep ball, seemingly attempting to slow down the game and avoid any of their players getting injured, which lead to a lack of chances for either side, and by the last 20 minutes of the game it had developed into a rather scrappy affair.

Croatia managed to win a penalty after a poor pass from Spanish Goalkeeper Unai Simon meant that Rodri had to try and win the ball back from Bruno Petkovic, but ended up giving away a foul right in front of an open goal. Petkovic took a poor penalty which Simon was able to save. Croatia were able to score with the follow up from Simon’s save, only for the goal to be ruled out for encroachment into the penalty area. If Croatia couldn’t even score from the penalty spot, then there would definitely be no way back for them with only ten minutes left to go.

There was some controversy over whether Rodri should have been sent off rather than just receiving a yellow card for giving away the penalty, as he was the last man, with Simon on the floor, and Petkovic was clearly right in front of goal, however this was overlooked by English referee Michael Oliver.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Lily Perrill

Writer

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