Although Spain might have opened their European adventure in Seville on Monday night with many expecting them to lay down an early marker, it was a disappointing opener for the former world champions.
Despite a game that saw La Roja almost entirely dominate possession, Luis Enrique’s young squad was unable to find a clinical edge once again as they had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate against Sweden.
A squad that is undoubtedly in the midst of a real transition under the one-time Barcelona boss and electing to name a starting XI that raised plenty of eyebrows on Monday, we have taken a look at three big talking points after Spain’s draw in Seville.
Possession not enough for Spain
After watching Slovakia open up their own European campaign with a shock 2-1 win against Poland earlier in the day, Spain would have been confident of skyrocketing their way to the top of Group E when they kicked off against Sweden on home soil.
However, although Enrique’s side might have demonstrated their usual calmness in moving the ball and completed a staggering 917 passes, they certainly lacked any real experience that would have been able to find the crucial breakthrough against what was a resilient Sweden outfit.
With many in the Spanish media still furious by Enrique’s decision to leave out all Real Madrid players from his 24-man squad, La Roja are desperately calling out for someone who can finish the chances that come their way, something the likes of David Villa offered them in yesteryear.
While Monday’s hosts might have ended their opening Group E showdown in Seville with 85% possession, the highest figures in a European Championship match since 1980, possession alone will not be enough to guide Spain to their first international crown since 2014 this summer.
Morata out, Moreno in
While Dani Olmo might have seen Sweden shot-stopper Robin Olsen deny his point-blank header and Koke miss two half-chances, it will undoubtedly be Alvaro Morata’s straightforward miss that will be playing on Enrique’s mind the most.
Finding a route through one-on-one with The Swedes goal after what could have been a costly mistake by central defender Marcus Danielson five minutes before the break, the one-time Chelsea misfit fluffed his lines as he could only watch his straightforward attempt bend agonizingly past the post.
Although Enrique might have come out after Monday’s 0-0 draw to back Morata, there is no doubt that La Roja should be looking to hand a free-scoring Gerard Moreno a starting spot up top.
While the Villarreal marksman might have also seen his own header denied by Olsen after coming off the bench in the second-half, the 29-year-old bagged 30 goals for the Yellow Submarine this season on route to lifting the Europa League title.
Although Sweden might have seen Spain dominate large spells of proceedings on Monday night, The Yellows put in a rugged display in Seville and they could have felt that they deserved to leave with more to show for their troubles.
Heading into this summer’s delayed European Championships enjoying a five-match winning run across all formats, their brightest run since 2013, Janne Andersson’s side came within striking distance of snatching all three points as they saw Marcus Berg miss the easiest of tap ins with half an hour remaining.
While Sweden might have left Spain without a shot on target, attacking talisman Alexander Isak put in a stellar display leading their line and the 21-year-old was more than deserving of the praise he has received.
A constant threat to the inexperienced duo of Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte, the Real Sociedad star also came close to breaking the deficit in the first-half as his effort was deflected onto the post by Marcos Llorente.
Spain: Simón (6.5), Llorente (6), Laporte (6), P. Torres (6), Alba (6.5), Koke (6.5), Rodri (6), Pedri (7), F. Torres (6), Morata (5), Olmo (6.5)
Subs: Ruiz (5), Thiago Alcántara (6.5), Oyarzabal (5.5), Sarabia (6), Moreno (6)
Sweden: Olsen (8.5), Lustig (7), Lindelöf (7.5), Danielson (6.5), Augustinsson (7), Larsson (7), Olsson (6.5), Ekdal (6.5), Forsberg (6), Berg (7), Isak (9)
Subs: Krafth (6), Cajuste (5), Bengtsson (5), Quaison (6.5), Claesson (6.5)
Yellow Cards: Alba
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Slavko Vincic