It cost his, but we are in the round of 16. It does not matter if seven meter waves are coming, you know, with Croatia and almost certainly the champion of the group of death as a fearsome panorama, because after the chills of the first phase it is appreciated to lower the ball to the ground and breathe three times. Spain placidly solved its first final of the Eurocup, although it is true that Slovakia and especially Dubravka (often the goalkeeper’s own goal) helped their own to open the win. But La Roja played much better and went to the hotel with a smile from ear to ear. That is also contagious. As long as a man named Busquets is on the field.
At about a quarter to five the line-up of Spain was made public. Having just received the second dose of the vaccine, I attributed my surprise to her because of the eleven that Luis Enrique put into the fray. Nothing to see. The astonishment was generalized and the same questions were repeated, no matter who you spoke to. Is Marcos Llorente not playing? Not Pau Torres? Is Sarabia really going out on the attack? The only change that everyone seemed to see naturally was that of Busquets by Rodri. Luis Enrique is a difficult enigma to unravel, but honestly, against Slovakia he was overcome. Of course, the vine gave a good harvest. The rival, meanwhile, was betting on the same starting line-up with which he faced Poland in Saint Petersburg. Regarding the duel with Sweden, Hromada returned to the center of the field as a red signal.
It was late of transistors, if there are still transistors left, because after two minutes of play from Slovakia-Spain the rumor reached La Cartuja of Forsberg’s goal in Sweden-Poland in Saint Petersburg. Good for La Roja. Although the really good thing, to stop us from tachycardias, had to arrive on the lawn of the Sevillian stadium. Spain triangulated well with fondness to the left wing. While, behind, the British defense integrated by Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Eric Garcia, Laporte (both of the City) and completed with Alba, did not pass difficulties. Slovakia’s visiting card was not the most fearsome of the European Championship, as it reached the third game of the group stage with just two shots between the three sticks.
Soon the first fresh air in favor of the Selection arrived. It was the 9th minute. The unintentional but obvious kick from Hromada to Koke could have no other result than the maximum penalty. Kuipers resorted to the VAR and whistled it. Who would throw it away after Moreno’s ruling against Poland? That is where Morata left. And Dubravka stopped him. And the whistles returned to the stands. And the torment in the head of the Juventus forward was stoked.
The bottle of cava, the one that Luis Enrique alluded to in the previous one as a perfect metaphor for the barrage of goals that was about to come but did not come, was still uncorked. The same pattern as against Sweden and Poland was repeated, with the field turned against the rival, generating scoring chances, centers and more centers to the area, but without success. Morata recovered with a hard shot from the edge of the area (23 ‘). And in another from Sarabia six minutes later the long-awaited goal arrived, which could not be done in any other way than in the most unexpected way. The whiplash from the PSG striker crashed into the crossbar and in the subsequent parable, in which the ball went up and down several meters, it complicated Dubravka’s life in such a way that he did not manage to clear his fists over the post but did so underneath. Chirigota from neighboring Cádiz, respite for a team that was seen again on the couch in the rest period after a meritorious first half but that until that moment, that of Dubravkina, had not found a prize.
Kucka and Hromada always received their backs and thus it was impossible for them to articulate an attack with guarantees. The Spanish pressure worked and that did nothing but corner Slovakia more and more, which was asking for rest to be able to sit in the corner and catch air. But the bell did not save him, because in 48 ‘, Gerard took advantage of the continuity of a corner to serve with a thread and all the syrup in the world a ball to Laporte, who headed into the net. It was his scoring baptism at La Roja and that goal allowed us to glimpse the round of 16 with 45 minutes still to play in the second half. Without trusting us, but without nerves. It was appreciated.
The stands especially thanked him, who turned the second part into a continuous applause for a Selection that was liked. Especially since Sarabia scared away all the ghosts with his goal in the 56th minute. Then came the shouts claiming Adama’s entry into the field, the ovation to Morata when he was substituted and the general clamor when Ferran Torres sealed the pass with a Sarabia bow with a delicious heel. Or when Pau Torres closed the win as soon as he stepped onto the pitch. Was that Spain the same Spain with which we had suffered in the first two games? It was the same, but different. It was one that arrived at the La Cartuja stadium and another, taller and more beautiful, that returned hours later to the concentration hotel. Once the champagne is uncorked, the party will have to start.
Duris (45 ‘, Doubt), Lobotka (45 ‘, Jakub Hromada), Ferran Torres (65 ‘, Morata), Weiss (68 ‘, Mak), Tomas Suslov (68 ‘, Lukas Haraslin), Thiago (70 ‘, Busquets), Pau Torres (70 ‘, Eric Garcia), Adama Traore (76 ‘, Gerard Moreno), Oyarzabal (76 ‘, Azpilicueta), Bénes (89 ‘, Hamsik)
0-1, 29 ‘: Martin Dubravka, 0-2, 47 ‘: Laporte, 0-3, 55 ‘: Sarabia, 0-4, 66 ‘: Ferran Torres, 0-5, 70 ‘: Kucka
Referee: Björn Kuipers
VAR Referee: Pol van Boekel
Doubt (11 ‘, Yellow) Busquets (39 ‘, Yellow) Sunrise (59 ‘, Yellow) Skriniar (93 ‘, Yellow
Classification Group E PT PJ PG PE PP 1
3 2 1 0 2
3 1 2 0 3
3 1 0 2 4
3 0 1 2 Group E PT PJ PG PE PP 1
3 2 1 0 2
3 1 2 0 3
3 1 0 2 4
3 0 1 2