Robin Olsen’s goalkeeping masterclass forced Spain to a goalless draw despite impressive performances from Barcelona duo Jordi Alba and Pedri.
Spain kick-started their UEFA Euro 2020 campaign in a disappointing way, as they were held to a goalless draw by Sweden on Monday, at Estadio de la Cartuja in Sevilla.
It was one of the most one-sided affairs in the competition so far, as the Spaniards were the best team throughout the course of the game. They dominated possession, relentlessly testing the resolve of the Swedish backline, who soaked up the pressure well, and were helped by the inspiring performance of their goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Alvaro Morata had the best chance for the hosts, who failed to make the most of a defensive error as his effort was wide of the mark. However, it was Sweden that had the easiest chance to score, but their forward Marcus Berg failed to find the back of the net from close range.
It was a disappointing moment for the Swedish fans, knowing their team could have realistically sealed all three points. Janne Andersson’s men, nevertheless, fought hard for the point. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides in the first goalless draw of the UEFA Euro 2020 so far.
Unai Simon: 6/10
Unai Simon had very little to do in the whole evening, as Spain kept dominating possession. He was a bit lucky with Marcus Berg failing to take care of his chance, though.
Marcos Llorente: 6.5/10
Marcos Llorente camped himself in the opposition half, mostly looking to provide the creativity upfront and added more firepower to Spain’s attacking unit. Also established himself as the extra passing option in the final third.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
Aymeric Laporte made a solid impression in his competitive debut with Spain. He was firm in possession, but what was particularly impressive about his performance was his solid defending, as he neutralised Marcus Berg while also protecting the vacant space behind Llorente.
59 – Passes completed in the first half:
6⃣2⃣A. Laporte 🇪🇸
5⃣9⃣THE WHOLE SWEDISH TEAM 🇸🇪
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 14, 2021
Pau Torres: 6.5/10
Pau Torres looked very comfortable in possession, as ever. The Villarreal centre-back had occasional problems in dealing with Alexander Isak’s quick feet, though.
Jordi Alba: 8/10
Jordi Alba was a creative lynchpin for this Spain team. He made multiple overlapping runs behind the Swedish defence, creating three chances inside the first half. His influence on the far side was critical to his team’s chance creation, thereby making him one of the best performers on the night.
Jordi Alba. 10/10 performance as a LB. Endless crosses. Endless runs on that left side. A shame that the spaniards have strikers that have zero finishing ability pic.twitter.com/hl5KaLWK1S
— Bennet 8/24 / 🙏❤🇩🇰 (@Bennet24_LFC) June 14, 2021
Rodri had a relatively quiet and easy game in the middle of the park for Spain. He didn’t have to do much other than mopping the occasional loose balls. Sprayed passes throughout the pitch.
Koke operated in the right side of the Spain midfield. He linked up well with his Atleti teammate Llorente, creating the occasional opportunities going forward.
Pedri was surprisingly handed the start by Luis Enrique in an attempt to add more creativity going forward. The move worked remarkably well, as the youngster mesmerised the onlookers with lofted balls over the top for Pedri. He was also faultless in possession, featuring in the entirety of the ninety minutes.
A few legends on Pedri's game earlier today with Spain:
Cesc Fabregas: "When no one was taking responsibility, Pedri was breaking lines."
Rio Ferdinand: "Pedri was the one they always looked for if they wanted to be creative."
Gary Lineker: "Pedri is going to be a superstar." pic.twitter.com/6E0m9oHkcC
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) June 14, 2021
Ferran Torres: 6.5/10
Ferran Torres initially started out wide, hoping to shift inside to score goals. However, he was defended rather well by Ludwig Augustinsson. The Man City attacker later operated more centrally, but it just wasn’t his night.
Alvaro Morata: 6/10
Alvaro Morata was culpable for missing Spain’s biggest opportunity of the game when his attempt on goal was wide. The striker exhibited poor finishing throughout the game, also failing to make the most of the useful crosses from wider areas.
Dani Olmo: 7.5/10
Along with Pedri and Alba, Dani Olmo caused a lot of havoc on the left-hand side. The RB Leipzig attacker linked up supremely well, keeping the opposition busy for the entirety of the game. He was also a threat from long range and was unlucky not to score a goal.
Pablo Sarabia: 6.5/10
Pablo Sarabia came on for Alvaro Morata, helping Torres shift into a central role. The PSG attacker did create one glorious opportunity late in the game while failing to score from another.
Thiago Alcantara: 6/10
Thiago Alcantara didn’t offer much to the table after coming on for Rodri. He did well in possession, but at a time when Sweden were defending deep.
Gerard Moreno: 7.5/10
Gerard Moreno replaced Torres in the 74th minute and did much more than Morata. His presence made life difficult for the Swedish defenders, even from crosses. The Villarreal striker was quite unlucky not to find the back of the net, as he was repeatedly denied by Robin Olsen.
Mikel Oyarzabal: 6/10
Mikel Oyarzabal replaced Olmo during the final phase of the game. Offered a threat out wide, but it wasn’t enough to help Spain get over the line.
Fabian Ruiz: N/A
A late replacement Koke. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Robin Olsen: 10/10
Robin Olsen was by far Sweden’s best player of the night, carrying his team’s hopes with a bunch of marvellous saves in between the sticks. His effort to deny Olmo was perhaps the pick of the net, and the on-loan Everton shot-stopper is certainly making a case for the best goalkeeping effort so far in Euro 2020.
Robin Olsen to the Spanish attack tonight pic.twitter.com/eWoLDdw8FJ
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) June 14, 2021
Mikael Lustig: 6/10
Mikael Lustig had a difficult game, as Spain bombarded his flank using the combination of Olmo, Pedri and Alba. It saw the defender struggle to contain the pressure, often allowing either of these three players the chance to spray crosses into the box.
Victor Lindelof: 7/10
Victor Lindelof didn’t have a particularly great first-half, as he was rather lucky. However, the Man United centre-back produced a polished second-half display, established himself as a rock at the heart of the Swedish backline.
Marcus Danielson: 7/10
Marcus Danielson was lucky in the first half when Morata failed to score from his defensive error. After the restart, though, the 32-year-old was even more impressive than Lindelof, making important blocks to keep Spain at bay.
Ludwig Augustinsson: 7.5/10
Ludwig Augustinsson was perhaps the pick of the Swedish defenders on the night. The Werder Bremen fullback showed impeccable defensive awareness and timed his positioning to prevent the likes of Torres and Llorente cause much trouble going forward.
Unglaublich anspruchsvolle Aufgabe für #Augustinsson heute. Macht Spaß ihn dabei zu beobachten, wie er jeder Sekunde aktiv ist, permanent seine Verteidigungsposition anpasst. Ständige Abwägung zwischen Pass in Außenspur komplett zustellen, Raumkontrolle, einrücken, … #ESPSWE pic.twitter.com/9EBPHoNeff
— Jens Schuster (@jensschuster_de) June 14, 2021
Sebastian Larsson: 6.5/10
Sebastian Larsson should have done a much better job of preventing Pedri from having so much freedom on the ball. The midfielder, though, did make some important tackles to break up Spain’s rhythm in possession.
Kristoffer Olsson: 7.5/10
Kristoffer Olsson produced a hard-working display in the middle of the park, making a host of important tackles. His work-rate was truly phenomenal, helping Sweden fend off the Spanish onslaught.
Emil Forsberg: 5/10
Emil Forsberg was anonymous throughout the game, failing to provide any creativity or threat from the left hand side. He was eventually replaced later on, as Andersson opted for more defensive bodies.
Alexander Isak: 7.5/10
Alexander Isak made a solid impression with his nimble footwork and remarkable mentality. He was often Spain’s main threat in defence, crafting multiple opportunities for him and his teammates, including the chance for Berg.
Marcus Berg: 4/10
Marcus Berg had an awful game at the tip of the Swedish attack. He missed the best chance of the game, failing to find the target from close range in the second half. Replaced late in the game.
Marcus Berg on fire 🔥 pic.twitter.com/fudA4C9H9w
— La Liga Oprê 🇧🇷🇪🇸 (@la_opre) June 14, 2021
Robin Quiason: 6/10
Robin Quaison came in for Berg midway through the second half. He offered more guile in the Swedish attack, but not enough to craft any scoring opportunities.
Viktor Claesson: 6/10
Viktor Claesson replaced Isak in the 69th minute, which was a surprising move given how the youngster was playing. Claesson, though, offering fresh legs in the first line of press.
Emil Krafth: 6.5/10
Emil Krafth replaced Lustig in the final phase of the proceedings, as the latter was clearly struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.
Pierre Bengtsson: N/A
A late replacement Forsberg. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Jens Cajuste: N/A
A late replacement Olsson. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.