FOOTBALL: Spain found itself contained by a defensive Sweden on Monday evening. It was the first European Championship match for both countries. The final fifteen minutes saw a battle for the winning goal, but it remained 0-0 in Seville.
Both Spain and Sweden had a difficult run-up to the European Championship 2020. Both teams were struggling with corona infections. For Spain, the positive test result of key player Busquets placed the team in a bubble. Trainer Luis Enrique had seventeen reserve players train in a parallel bubble in case a corona outbreak occurred.
Although both groups had their own bubble, it was difficult to train together. Too much mutual contact during training had to be avoided. The team was also vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine last Friday. Undoubtedly, all these things played a part in the – nevertheless – disappointing result.
Spain makes history in statistics
The desired type of positive news was that Spain dominated the match. Enrique’s team recorded an average possession of 85.1%. This is the highest percentage in European Championship history since these statistics started in 1980.
Greatest opportunities are for Sweden
Despite this high percentage, and the fact that Sweden had almost nothing to contribute, especially in the first half, Spain was unable to score. The majority of the chances were Spain’s but it was Swedish striker Alexander Isak, and later Marcus Berg, who had the best chances to score the opening goal.
Isak passed the Spanish keeper, while Spaniard Marcos Llorente backtracked to the goal line. Instead, of cleanly preventing a Swedish goal, the Spanish attacker nearly scored an own goal. Fortunately for Spain, the ball hit the post and Sweden didn’t take capitalise.
Spain just couldn’t score
Spain had good chances to score several times. A header and other chances from Dani Olmo, a shot wide of the goal by Koke and Álvaro Morata, chances for Gerard Moreno and Pablo Sarabia were just some of them. Swedish keeper Olsen managed to keep a clean sheet. According to football analysts, he was the star of the evening on the Swedish side.
Disappointed Spaniards and partying Swedes
Despite the enormous opportunities in this match and the superior possession of the ball on the Spanish side, Spain was unable to bring Sweden, as number 18 in the European Championship ranking, to its knees. At the final whistle, the Spaniards – both the players and the audience – were deeply disappointed. From the Swedish side, the draw was celebrated as if they had won.
Spain now shares second place with Sweden. On Saturday, June 19 at 21.00, Spain will meet Poland.