Euro 2024: Spain Dominates Croatia with a 3-0 Victory

By Score More

In a commanding display, Spain triumphed over Croatia 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in the opening match of Group B of Euro 2024. A brief but decisive period in the first half saw “La Roja” dismantle Croatia’s defense, painting the scoreboard red in a match that could have been closer.

Historic Moments

Before the match kicked off under the watchful eye of referee Michael Oliver, history was made on both sides. Spain’s Lamine Yamal became the youngest player ever to compete in a European Championship at 16 years and 338 days. Meanwhile, Croatia’s Luka Modric, at 38 years and 280 days, became the oldest player in the tournament since Germany’s Lothar Matthaus in 2000. Notably, this record could soon be broken by Portugal’s Pepe, who is 41 years old.

Spain Takes Control

Despite a lively atmosphere created by the Croatian fans at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Spain took early control of the match. Utilizing their wingers and full-backs, Spain sought to exploit spaces behind Croatia’s defense. Croatia, on the other hand, struggled to build play, frequently conceding possession to Yamal and Alvaro Morata, though Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic managed to thwart their early efforts.

After surviving initial threats, Croatia began to find its footing and launched several attacks. However, a lapse in concentration in their defense allowed Morata to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark. The Spanish captain pounced on a pragmatic pass from Fabián Ruiz, securing his place as the third-highest scorer in European Championship history, tied with Antoine Griezmann and Alan Shearer at seven goals.

Ruiz and Carvajal Seal the Win

Moments after Kovacic came close to equalizing for Croatia, Spain extended their lead. In the 32nd minute, Fabián Ruiz showcased his skill, navigating through the defense at the edge of the box before firing a precise shot to make it 2-0. Just before halftime, Dani Carvajal added the third goal. In a scene reminiscent of the Champions League final, Carvajal capitalized on a corner, outsmarting the Croatian defenders and converting a cross from Yamal.

Croatia’s Late Efforts

In the second half, Croatia increased their offensive pressure, creating several opportunities. However, they found it difficult to break through Spain’s defense, led by Cucurella and goalkeeper Unai Simón. A late effort by Petkovic seemed to offer a glimmer of hope, but his goal was disallowed due to an infringement by Perisic during the build-up.

Spain Leads Group B

With this comprehensive victory, Spain leads Group B, awaiting the result of the Italy-Albania match. Spain will next face Italy on Thursday night, while Croatia will play against Albania on Wednesday afternoon.

Key Player: Fabián Ruiz

Fabián Ruiz was the standout performer, orchestrating Spain’s offensive play and breaking the deadlock with his crucial second goal. His calm, assertive play was instrumental in Spain’s victory, complementing the defensive strength of Rodri and the creativity of Pedri.

Croatia will need to reflect on their missed opportunities and their inability to counter Spain’s offensive transitions and depth as they prepare for their next match.

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