Spain were held to a draw by a rigidly-disciplined Sweden in Seville to hit Luis Enrique’s side’s hopes of topping Group E.
Spain completely dominated possession throughout game, pushing and probing and conjuring a few golden opportunities, particularly in a one-sided first-half.
Koke fired over when unmarked in the box midway through the opening period, before Alvaro Morata curled a shot wide when clean through.
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But the best chance of a one-sided first half fell to La Liga’s Young Player of the Year Alexander Isak. The Swedish starlet, with his side’s only touches in the Spain box in the first half, sat Aymeric Laporte down and saw his shot strike Marcos Llorente and come back off the upright.
That close call was a warning for the Spanish hosts to switch on after the break, but, if anything, the hosts were even more toothless in the second half, much to the frustration of the crowd at the Estadio La Cartuja.
Sweden could have gone ahead midway through the second half when Isak produced another moment of brilliance to lay it on a plate for his strike partner Marcus Berg, only for the 34-year-old to somehow skew his effort wide.
But Luis Enrique’s side failed to make the Swedes pay for that missed opportunity as the game ended goalless amidst a chorus of whistles from the disgruntled Spanish faithful.
Spain are back in Group E action on Saturday evening (again in Seville) against Poland, who lost 2-1 to Slovakia earlier on Monday. Sweden travel to St Petersburg to take on the Slovaks on Friday afternoon.

Alexander Isak (Sweden) against Spain

Image credit: Getty Images

Talking Point – Transfer bids for Isak incoming

The Real Sociedad forward sparkled in attack for Sweden with the very limited opportunities he received, and the La Liga club can be expecting plenty of interest in the transfer market this summer if their youngster has anything like the same impact in his nation’s remaining matches.
The former Borussia Dortmund prospect is still just 21 and has a little bit of everything.

Man of the Match – Jordi Alba (Spain)

Alba was incisive throughout for Spain, constantly providing an overlapping threat down the left. His deliveries were a consistent threat to the Swedish defence and he was barely troubled going the other way by an opposition who were high on endeavour and low on creativity.

Player Ratings

Spain: Unai Simon 6; Marcos Llorente 6, Aymeric Laporte 7, Pau Torres 7, Jordi Alba (captain) 8; Koke 7, Rodri 6, Pedri 6; Ferran Torres 5, Alvaro Morata 4, Dani Olmo 7. Subs: Sarabia 6, Thiago 5, Oyarzabal 5, Moreno 5, Ruiz 5
Sweden: Robin Olsen 8; Mikael Lustig 7, Victor Lindelof 8, Marcus Danielson 7, Ludwig Augustinsson 7; Sebastian Larsson (captain) 6, Albin Ekdal 6, Martin Olsson 6, Emil Forsberg 6; Marcus Berg 6, Alexander Isak 8. Subs: Quaison 6, Claesson 6, Krafth 5, Cajuste 5, Bengtsson 5.

Key Moments

23’ – Koke goes extremely close to scoring his first ever goal for Spain, slicing a shot wide of the far post as the ball breaks fortuitously to him in the box.
29’ – Koke can’t quite sort himself out a low cross finds him totally unmarked in the box. He blazes over from the penalty spot with the chance, and sinks into the net in disappointment. That was a great chance.
38’ – It’s almost a gift for Spain as Danielson misreads a cross and allows Morata clean through on goal. He’s got time and is well-placed, but curls his effort around the keeper and wide of the post. Should be 1-0.
41’ – Isak is all on his own and it’s virtually the first time he’s touched the ball, but he feints and weaves and finds some space for a shot in the box and sees his effort deflect off the covering defender and onto the post. That is so close to an opener for Sweden, and brilliant by Isak.
61’ – Sweden break and it’s Isak again who does amazingly well to keep the move alive with three Spanish defenders on him. The youngster somehow manages to squeeze a peach of a cross right into the feet of Berg at the far post, but the veteran somehow skews his effort wide when it looked easier to score. He buries his face into the turf in disappointment.
90’ – Is that the chance? Moreno meets a cross with a flicked header, but his contact isn’t perfect and it gives Olsen the chance to produce a great reaction save. He should have scored.
93’ – Alba does amazingly well again to get in down the left and his clipped cross finds Sarabia. But the substitute doesn’t react in time and essentially knees a tame effort straight into the grateful arms of the keeper.

Stats and Facts

  • Spain enjoyed 90% of possession in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
  • And Luis Enrique’s side ended the game having enjoyed a remarkable 85% of the ball.
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