Luis Enrique’s Spain are through to the Round of 16 thanks to a sensational 5-0 victory over Slovakia in the Euro 2020 group stage finale in front of the home crowd in Seville.
The four Barcelona players in the La Roja squad started the game, with Eric García and Jordi Alba in defense and Sergio Busquets back in the team alongside Pedri in midfield.
Spain were excellent from the start, pressuring high up the pitch and attacking time and time again, and they had a golden chance in the first 10 minutes when Koke was brought down in the box, but Álvaro Morata’s penalty was saved by Martin Dubravka.
It was the second missed penalty in two games for La Roja, and this could have easily become a very nervous game with the Spanish attack struggling to find a goal like in the first two matches.
It wasn’t the case this time: Spain continued to put the pressure on and the goals finally came. The first was a bizarre own goal by Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who did... something with the ball after Pablo Sarabia hit the crossbar.
DUBRAVKA PUNCHES IT INTO HIS OWN NET pic.twitter.com/gL7OTrIi1v— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Just before halftime, Aymeric Laporte made it 2-0 with a header from a Gerard Moreno cross, and the floodgates were open: within the first 25 minutes of the second half, Sarabia scored after an assist from Alba, Ferran Torres got a cheeky backheel in for the fourth, and Kucka scored an own goal to make it 5-0.
Thanks to a 3-2 win by Sweden over Poland in the other game, the three points weren’t enough for Spain to clinch first place in the group, but this performance is extremely encouraging ahead of the Round of 16.
Is it a coincidence that Spain’s best performance came with all four Barça players on the pitch? You tell me.