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  • Writer's pictureJames Schneider

Spain 3 - 0 Croatia

Spain took on Croatia for the 3rd match of the 2024 Euros. Spain have been somewhat of a ghost of their former selves in recent competitions. From 2008-2012, they won 2 European tournaments and the World Cup- one of the most dominant runs in football history. Croatia come into this competition as one of the older, more experienced squads. Their captain, Luka Modric, is one of the all time great players and still is at the top of his game at 38 years old. Meanwhile, Spain boast some talented youth in their squad, most notably the youngest player to ever appear in the Euros: 16 year old Lamine Yamal. 

Spain made a statement in the first half, taking Croatia by storm. Spain’s record goalscorer in the history of the competition, Alvaro Morata, opened the scoring in the 29’ after an incisive through ball from Fabian Ruiz, who then tacked on another goal just 3 minutes later. Towards the end of the half, the youngster Lamine Yamal played in a beautiful cross that Dani Carvajal put away to put the Spaniards up 3-0. 

Spain looked to dictate the pace in the second half of the match. They brought on natural midfielders Mikel Merino and Mikel Oyarzabal for their out and out forwards Morata and Nico Williams. Croatia looked lively in the beginning of the half, with a dangerous chance that saw a wonderous goalline stand from the Spaniards. Spanish keeper Unai Simon had a silly giveaway in the 77’ which forced Rodri into a last ditch tackle which led to Croatia being awarded a penalty. Simon initially saved the penalty and the rebound was put away by Bruno Petkovic, however, the goal was ruled out by VAR due to encroachment into the box from Croatia. This missed opportunity took the life out of the already dying Croatia. 

The player that impressed me the most was Lamine Yamal. His quality at just 16 years old is remarkable. He had an assist in the first half and would’ve scored in the second half if it weren’t for a wonderful save by Livakovic. Yamal will look to continue to impress for the remainder of the summer in Germany. 

Spain go atop Group B while Croatia find themselves in last. Italy vs Albania later today will round out match day 1 for the group. Spain will look to take on Italy next while Croatia will look to win 3 points against Albania. 

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