Sweden 1-1 Spain: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis | European Qualifiers 2019/20
The game started on expected lines with the Spaniards imposing their possession-oriented game. Slowly but surely though, Sweden came into their own and portrayed determination and grit to stand strong in the face of Spanish adversity.
In the 50th minute, the hosts’ perseverance was rewarded when Marcus Berg capitalised on a loose ball in the box to nod home the opener. Thereafter, the visitors tried to unlock a rather stubborn defensive door and they succeeded deep into stoppage time when Rodrigo Moreno popped up with an improbable equaliser.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game.
#5 Goalkeepers’ day out in the first half
Spain and Sweden came into the encounter having scored 18 and 17 goals respectively, thereby prompting several to expect another thrilling contest. The 2010 World Champions started off in a similar vein too when they dominated the ball at the outset and left the hosts chasing shadows.
The visitors’ build-up play looked extremely slick and they pinged the ball around with purpose. However, whenever they created goal-scoring opportunities for themselves, they were thwarted by Sweden’s Robin Olsen.
In the opening 10 minutes, the ball broke kindly for Thiago Alcantara, who strode into the penalty area. Yet, he somehow failed to make the net bulge, owing to a combination of indecisive finishing and expert goalkeeping.
Though the Spaniard was slightly wasteful, Olsen was quite brave to throw himself at the feet of the midfielder and claw the ball away from the Bayern Munich player.
A few minutes later, the Swedish goalkeeper was on hand to parry Rodri’s snap shot while he also ensured that the hosts shut out the visitors in the opening period courtesy another smart save from Gerard Moreno.
Consequently, Sweden grew into the game and carved out a few chances at the other end. Yet, akin to his goalkeeping counterpart, David de Gea turned in an immense display in the first period.
The Spaniard’s first notable piece of action was gathering Mikael Lustig’s rasping drive from distance. The shot was struck with power, meaning that de Gea had to sort out his feet quickly.
In a matter of moments though, the Manchester United keeper outdid himself when he flung his left palm to tip Robin Quaison’s effort over the bar.
Thus, the affair remained scoreless at the break, despite both sides indulging itself in some wonderful approach play. And, much of it was down to the brilliance of the goalkeeping pair.