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Spain national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 15, 2024 at 5pm UK
Olympiastadion Berlin
Croatia national football team

3 - 0

Morata (29'), Ruiz (32'), Carvajal (45+2')
Rodri (78')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Spain begin Euro 2024 campaign with three-goal win over Croatia

Slick Spain start Euro 2024 campaign with three-goal win over Croatia
© Reuters
Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal score the goals as Spain open their Euro 2024 campaign with a 3-0 victory over Croatia in Berlin.

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal scored the goals as Spain opened their Euro 2024 campaign with a 3-0 victory over Croatia in Berlin on Saturday evening.

La Roja have stormed to the top of Group B, and it was the type of performance that suggested that the team could be challengers for the trophy this summer.

European champions in 1964, 2008 and 2012, Spain have not been mentioned among the favourites to triumph in Germany, but they were excellent in their competition opener, with Croatia having no answer to their quality.

All three of Spain's goals came in the first period; Croatia thought that they had given themselves a chance of a late comeback through Bruno Petkovic, but his effort, which came after he missed a penalty, was disallowed for offside, with La Roja keeping a clean sheet.

Yamal makes history during impressive Spain win

A slight muscular issue for Aymeric Laporte led to Nacho starting in the middle of the Spain defence, while it was Marc Cucurella rather than Alex Grimaldo who was given the nod at left-back.

Barcelona's teenage star Lamine Yamal made history, becoming the youngest-ever player to feature in the European Championship at the age of 16 years and 338 days old, and he put in a brilliant performance for Luis de la Fuente's side in their tournament opener.

As for Croatia, Luka Modric, 38, captained Zlatko Dalic's side, while Josko Gvardiol was a notable inclusion off the back of an impressive campaign for English champions Manchester City.

The game's first shot came in the seventh minute, with Yamal feeding Spain captain Morata, but the Atletico Madrid forward's strike was always comfortable for Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Croatia's first half-chance came in the 22nd minute, with Ante Budimir getting ahead of Robin Le Normand inside the Spain box, but his header was always moving over the crossbar.

Croatia's Josko Gvardiol in action with Spain's Lamine Yamal on June 15, 2024© Reuters

Morata, Ruiz, Carvajal score the goals for Spain

The breakthrough came in the 29th minute, and it was a super finish from Morata, with the forward racing onto a pass from Rodri before expertly placing the ball past the Croatian goalkeeper.

There was almost an instant response from Croatia, but Mateo Kovacic saw his strike from outside the box gathered by Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon.

La Roja then doubled their lead in the 32nd minute, with Ruiz smashing one into the back of the net after showing wonderful feet in a tight area.

Simon kept out Marcelo Brozovic in the period that followed, with Lovro Majer then smashing the rebound into the side-netting during an incredibly open period of the match.

Croatia came close again late in the first period, with Gvardiol firing one towards the far post, but Brozovic just failed to make contact, and Spain then scored a third in first-half stoppage time, with Carvajal turning a brilliant Yamal cross into the back of the net from close range.

Spain take immediate charge of Group B

The excellent Yamal came close to scoring himself early in the second period, but his low strike was brilliantly kept out by the diving Croatia goalkeeper.

Croatia then somehow failed to score in the 55th minute, with Cucurella keeping out Josip Stanisic at the far post, and after a period of pin-ball, Spain managed to clear their lines.

Dalic's side were awarded a penalty in the 78th minute when Rodri brought Petkovic to the ground following a mistake from Spain goalkeeper Simon; Petkovic saw his spot kick saved by the La Roja stopper, but it was squared back into the striker, who then found the back of the net.

The Croatian fans faced more frustration, though, as his goal was disallowed for offside, which summed up what was a frustrating opening matchday for the third-placed side at the 2022 World Cup.

When do Spain, Croatia play again at Euro 2024?

Spain have already put themselves in a strong position to reach the next round, with the result leaving them top of Group B, and they will be back in action against Italy on June 20.

Croatia, meanwhile, will be bidding to bounce back from what was a hugely disappointing opening result when they tackle Albania on June 19.

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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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