News : EM 2021: Spain against Sweden – by goal scorers and those who want to become one
The scenes of the game: About four minutes lay between a Swedish deep breath and a Spanish moment of shock. On the one hand, it was Álvaro Morata who received a chipball from Jordi Alba. Sweden’s Marcus Danielsson had previously stepped over the ball, Morata was free in front of the opponent’s goal – and put the ball just past the far post (38th minute). A little later, Sweden also came dangerously in front of the opponent’s goal for the first time: Alexander Isak delayed, let Aymeric Laporte slip and closed from an acute angle (41st). If right-back Llorente hadn’t been there to steer the ball against the post, the Swedes would have won a game in which they were outclassed at times.
The result: In the end, nobody won in the heat of Seville evening. Spain had many good chances, Sweden few, which were fantastic. A lack of clippers and a lack of luck made the 0-0 nevertheless logical. Read the match report here.
The test results: Spaniards and Swedes were still unbeaten in the calendar year 2021, the teams had survived the sporting tests before the tournament well. The results of the corona tests before the start of the European Championship were more worrying for both teams: Captain Sergio Busquets did not test positive on the part of the Spaniards, Diego Llorente returned late after a false-positive test. Top talent Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg were not allowed to be in the Swedes’ squad. Despite the return of the audience, the game was a reminder that it will take a while for normality in Europe.
The first half: On the other hand, the action on the pitch was almost outrageously normal: Spain dominated the game with more than 80 percent possession, Sweden put a lot of legs behind the ball in the deep 4-4-2 rule. The Scandinavians were able to prevent combinations close to the penalty area , The Spaniards became particularly dangerous after half-field flanks and individual mistakes by their opponents. Without Swedish intervention, Dani Olmo had the best opportunity, Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen (16) parried his header.
The youngest: There is probably There is hardly a talent in world football who plays Spanish football as Pedro González López, known as Pedri. The 1.74 meter tall youngster plays as if he had been trained to be Andrés Iniesta’s successor since early childhood. In fact, FC Barcelona only bought the gifted from Las Palmas in 2019. Since then, Pedri has been a regular and national player – and now also the youngest Spaniard at a European Championship: at the age of 18 and 201 days, he replaced Miguel Tendillo, who held the record at 19 years and 132 days since the 1980 European Championship.
The second half: The Swedes made the game a little more balanced. Spain kept a large share of the game, but did not have as many opportunities as they did before the break. Danielson made up for his mistake and blocked a shot from Olmo (73), Olsen only had to parry in the final phase. He did it confidently, a ball that bounced off Pablo Sarabia’s knee towards the goal should be his last test (90 + 3).
Zlatan’s legacy: Before that, there had been two other noteworthy scenes that illustrated which team has a striker problem – and which only half: A Swedish counterattack seemed almost delayed when Isak was harassed by three Spaniards on the right in the penalty area. Instead of concluding on luck or canceling the attack, the 1.92 meter tall storm talent dribbled past the opponents and laid across his attack partner. Only it wasn’t the injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom Isak is supposed to inherit, but Marcus Berg. He pushed the ball past the goal from four meters on the left.
Spanish competition: For a long time, Isak was the player on the pitch who scored the most goals in a La Liga season with 17 goals for San Sebastian last season. Morata, now under contract with Juventus in Italy, never managed so many – the doubts whether his team-friendly style of play compensates for his lack of clipping skills should not have diminished. Unlike in the preparation against Portugal, where the fans whistled Morata after a miss, this time there was at least support from the stands. And: Joker Gerard Moreno, who was even more dangerous than Isak with 23 league goals, didn’t do better. Olsen saved his header from close range in the closing stages (90 + 1).
Surprise!: So it happens that the leader of the group E after the first matchday is not Spain, Sweden or Poland, but Slovakia. Anyone who has typed this before may wonder whether he or she is not the reincarnation of a popular oracle octopus.