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Slovakia 0-5 Spain: 5 things learned

Slovakia 0-5 Spain: 5 things learned

1. Spain and penalties do not mix

As the call from the VAR monitor pointed to the penalty spot, the cheers from inside the Sevilla stadium were ones of delight. Clearly, the fans were forgetful of the record Spain have from the spot, lost in the moment of a possible goal.

The record would rear its ugly head once more as Alvaro Morata, a player under intense pressure from his nation to lead La Roja’s line, put the ball to Martin Dubravka’s right at the perfect height to make a save.

That fateful spot-kick was the 5th penalty Spain have now missed in a row; Sergio Ramos with two, Abel Ruiz, Gerard Moreno and now the Juve forward.

Could yet another swap need to be made by Luis Enrique?

2. Martin Dubravka had a night to forget

The Newcastle United goalkeeper saw a shot from Alvaro Morata hit the bar, obviously, and for a moment thought to be spared.

However, the ball was suddenly hurtling back towards him as if out of some Tom and Jerry cartoon. What happened after appeared something further out of the fictional as Dubravka punched the ball into his own net to give Spain the lead.

The imagery of Morata’s perpetual pain in the replays turning to delight as the ball found its way into the back of the net felt justified.

3. Laporte’s Spanish arrival

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte made the decision to change affiliation from France to Spain in order to play for them at the European Championships this summer.

With the absence of Sergio Ramos from Luis Enrique’s plans this summer there was much pressure and expectation from Laporte to be the main man in the defence. He achieved this not only by helping the side concede just the one goal across the three matches but by scoring his first goal too.

After a tenacious bit of play from Gerard Moreno, the Villarreal forward chipped the ball back into the box where Laporte was waiting to head delicately over the Slovakian goalkeeper.

4. A glimpse of the Spain of old

In the opening two games of the tournament. which Spain failed to win, the criticisms were scripted with the context of what has come before.

Spain won the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, sandwiching a World Cup title in 2010. After, Spanish football began its slow decline both on the international stage and domestically.

The current Spanish boss Luis Enrique managed what is considered the last great Barcelona side, winning a treble with Andreas Iniesta still integral to the group.

But as Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and co have hung up their boots, some from the game entirely, a new crop is coming through with massive shoes to fill.

Enrique’s side lacked incisiveness and clinical attributes in the first two games but slick play against Slovakia brought with it a sight of what could be to come.

Clive Tyldesley in commentary used the words, “and that, looked more like Spain.”

It was certainly a performance to worry their prospective last 16 opponents.

5. Slovakia deserve to go home

Opening day victory against Poland gave hope that the underdogs of the group Slovakia may progress further than anyone expected them to.

With a Sweden side lacking Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a Spain team in transition to come, some touted the Slovaks as a possible last 16 surprise package.

However, as shown in both games against Sweden and Spain, they simply lacked the quality in the final third.

With goalkeeper and centre back Martin Dubravka and Milan Skriniar being their best assets, in addition to an ageing Marek Hamsik, the hope of goals was always a long shot.

Yet, to concede so many in their final game will certainly end their tournament with a humiliating feel to it, regardless of the manner of how they conceded some of them, two own goals included.

Read more:

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This article was edited by Ben Browning.