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.
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.
— mathias zaranyika (@mattazz77) June 13, 2016
— Sebastian Maspons (@Sebasmaspons) June 13, 2016
The PA announcer’s enthusiasm certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
Toulouse PA announcer is INTO IT. #ESPvCZE
— Frank MacDonald (@frankmSounders) June 13, 2016
Spain’s problems up front was perfectly summed up by this analogy.
Spain without David Villa is a bit like Jaws without teeth. #ESPvCZE
— Bateman (@NYJetster) June 13, 2016
Praise for Iniesta flowed like his flowing football.
— Arun George (@saysarun) June 13, 2016
— Sarah Chamma (@sarahchamma) June 13, 2016
— Kaustav Bhattacharya (@Kaustav_89) June 13, 2016
Iniesta has been unbelievable in this game #ESPvCZE
— Jamie Smart (@JamieSmart_) June 13, 2016
Fans called for Pique to be stopped being targeted by the Spain support after his wonderful Spain goal.
— Ajay Kumar (@iamajay28) June 13, 2016
They don’t seem to be booing him anymore, Pique!!#ESPvCZE
— Dj (@djbroly_5) June 13, 2016
— Rae Morris (@raemo101) June 13, 2016
— Ethel Yap (@ethelyap) June 13, 2016