Spain 1-0 Czech Republic: 5 talking points
Spain needed a late header from defender Gerard Pique to overcome a stubborn Czech Republic and begin their Euro title defence with a win.
After a number of chances went begging for Vicente del Bosque’s side, they finally found their breakthrough when Andres Iniesta’s inch-perfect cross was met by an unmarked Pique to beat an impressive Petr Cech and send the Czech Republic defence to its knees.
We list out a few talking points that decided an eye-catching encounter at Toulouse:
#1 Cech mate - nearly
He just would not allow himself to be beaten today. 33-year old Petr Cech stamped his mark on the game by making a number of outstanding saves, including two to deny Alvaro Morata (one of which was from point blank range). Against a creative Spanish side who dominated the game right from the get-go, he had to be alert to bail out his stretched defence throughout the game.
Good goalkeepers are always proactive to danger, and Cech was a perfect example. His anticipation of David Silva’s approach into the 6-yard box was well read by the Arsenal custodian, who managed to get in the way of Silva’s shot.
He couldn’t have done anything about Pique’s goal – it was a perfect header from the unmarked Barcelona defender.
His display in Toulouse against the defending champions showed why he is still regarded as one of the world’s great shot-stoppers.