Defending champions Spain managed a narrow 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic in their opening game of the tournament. Even though the Spaniards were in complete control of the match, there were clear problems upfront and Vicente del Bosque’s men had to be saved by a Gerard Pique header.

Spain’s problems upfront were made evident by their inability to capitalise on their many chances. Vicente del Bosque experimented with Morata, Nolito and even Aduriz for a period of time. Pedro was brought on to provide a more direct and faster threat, but it was eventually a wonderfully floated Iniesta cross that was met by Pique’s head that give Spain their lead in the 86th minute.

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - JUNE 13: Gerard Pique of Spain celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group D match between Spain and Czech Republic at Stadium Municipal on June 13, 2016 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

TOULOUSE, FRANCE – JUNE 13: Gerard Pique of Spain celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group D match between Spain and Czech Republic at Stadium Municipal on June 13, 2016 in Toulouse, France. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

On this the manager said,“It’s true that we found it difficult to score. It was tough to go ahead, but from an Andres cross, Gerard did wonderfully. We had a little hiccup with the centre-forwards, but in the end we won.”

The world cup winning coach insisted that he wasn’t sure whether performances like these would be enough, but that he was happy with the cushion they had on top of Group D.

Czech Republic manager Pavel Vrba can take pride in his side’s performance. Holding off an attacking side like Spain for over 85 minutes in a match is a huge deal. But the manager expressed his disappointment at conceding a late goal. “It’s disappointing to concede a goal late on,” he said. “We had chances, which doesn’t often happen against Spain. I am very happy with my players.”

It was a good match for Spanish fans. They got to witness some nice, free flowing football and a Spanish victory. Praise was reserved for the likes of Iniesta, Pique and of course, the over enthusiastic PA announcer.

Didn’t start off too well for Morata. HE put in a sliding tackle which took out the ref.


The PA announcer’s enthusiasm certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

Spain’s problems up front was perfectly summed up by this analogy.

Praise for Iniesta flowed like his flowing football.


Fans called for Pique to be stopped being targeted by the Spain support after his wonderful Spain goal.

 


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