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Spain 0-0 Sweden: 5 Talking points as determined Swedes frustrate Spain to a goalless draw | UEFA Euro 2020

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Spain were held to a 0-0 draw in their opening fixture of the UEFA Euro 2020 by Sweden, who were determined to keep a clean sheet at all costs tonight. There were missed chances for both sides, more for the home side at Estadio La Cartuja de Sevilla, including Alvaro Morata's miss in a one-on-one situation.

The game was defined by Sweden's resolve against a skilful Spanish side. The Swedes spent most of their time defending against the 2012 champions and only threatened when Alexander Isak sprinted past midfielders and defenders.

Spain were comfortable, as always, with the ball and dominated possession, having kept the ball for 86% of the time. The only reason nothing came out of their possession was Sweden's tight defensive lineup and their willingness to throw bodies behind.

Sweden had just one real chance throughout the game and it was all thanks to Isak's brilliance. The striker managed to hold onto the ball under pressure from a couple of Spain defenders but Marcus Berg's touch at the far post was a bit too heavy.

Gerard Moreno, who replaced Dani Olmo in the 74th minute had a couple of great chances late into the game. He was denied by Robin Olsen with a brilliant save and then the game reached its conclusion.

As Spain fail to kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign with a win, here we take a look at the five talking points from the game.


#5 Sweden played to their strengths against Spain

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Sweden manager Janne Andersson displayed a lot of maturity in his decisions tonight. He knew that Spain could be very dangerous opponents if they are allowed to move into dangerous positions. To deal with that, he chose to sacrifice possession for a clean sheet and his decision paid off smartly.

Though Sweden only had 14% of the possession, they achieved what they set out to do and came out from the game with a crucial point and a clean sheet. For the Nordic nation, this draw is almost as good as a win.


#4 Luis Enrique did not field Spain's strongest starting XI

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

There were a few questionable inclusions in the starting XI by Spain coach Luis Enrique in the game. Firstly, David De Gea was on the bench and Atletico Bilbao's 24-year-old Unai Simón started between the sticks. He was not particularly tested tonight, so it remains to be seen how he performs under pressure.

Marcos Llorente, who impressed with his attacking output in La Liga this term, started at right-back but could've been used in midfield in place of Pedri. Chelsea's César Azpilicueta could've started at right-back, who brings a wealth of experience with him.

Players like Gerard Moreno and Thiago Alcantara also started from the bench and when they came on the pitch, they performed well. Questions will be asked of Enrique for his selection in Spain's EURO 2020 opener.


Also See: 10 highest-paid players in La Liga this season (2020/21)

#3 Spain produced a passing masterclass but to no avail

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Spain seemed to move the ball around at will in the game, as they made the most of the 86% possession and completed over 829 passes against Sweden. Six Spain players had completed more passes than the entire Swedish team by the final whistle.

Despite a masterclass in passing, the home side struggled to find that one decisive pass that could've given them the lead. Sweden defended with all their might and rarely allowed space for the attackers to move into goalscoring positions.


#2 Alvaro Morata's performance probably cost him a starting position in the next game

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Spain were so dominant in the game that all they needed from this game was one goal and Sweden's resolve would've fallen apart. Of all the players, Alvaro Morata has the best chance to put Spain in front in the first half.

The chance originated from a rare defensive error from Sweden as Marcus Danielson failed to deal with Jordi Alba's looping ball into the box, which allowed Morata through on goal. The Juventus striker produced a timid shot in a one-on-one situation and was whistled by home fans since.

Morata is not to be blamed single-handedly for the game to be the first goalless draw of the 2020 edition. His touches and concentration levels just weren't up to the mark and he is likely to be replaced by Gerard Moreno in the next game.


#1 Spain break multiple records but the Swedish defence was impregnable

Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E
Spain v Sweden - UEFA Euro 2020: Group E

Spain broke the possession and passing record in the European Championship tonight. ut apart from them did not have much to take away from the game, which will be remembered more for Sweden's determination and defensive efforts.

Sweden spent more time chasing the ball but also had a couple of chances and looked dangerous whenever the ball went to Alexander Isak. While they were helped by Spain's wastefulness in front of the goal, the defenders put in a tireless display and were always on high alert. Manchester United's Victor Lindelöf also won the star of the match award for the calm and composed organization of his defence.

Goalkeeper Robin Olsen made as many as five saves in the game and his reflexes were particularly helpful in the final 10 minutes of the game when Spain launched an all-out attempt for a last-gasp winner.


Also See: The 10 highest-paid goalkeepers in the world

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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