Spain 1-0 Czech Republic
Spain were forced to work hard today to defeat the Czech Republic to get off to a winning start in Group D. The hero of the day was center-back Gerard Pique who popped up to nod home an 87th minute winner.
The first half was a familiar one for Spanish fans – their side dominated possession, created numerous chances but failed to score. The Spanish midfied of Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabergas and David Silva were supplying forwards Nolito and Alvaro Morata with excellent balls but the strikers couldn’t find a way past Petr Cech in-goal. The Arsenal shot stopper kept the Czech in the game for the opening 45 minutes denying Morata on more than one occasion. His crucial saves saw the sides head down the tunnel goalless at the break.
The second half saw Spain begin with intent Iniesta played a delightful ball forward to Nolito who’s cut back was nearly turned into the Czech net by defender Roman Hubnik. A succession of corners saw Spain go close again Sergio Ramos saw his effort deflected wide by a prone Hubnik. Spain were creating chances but the Czech defence was able to prevent a goal. The Czech then began to test David De Gea’s goal calling the keeper into action before a scramble saw Cesc Fabergas clear off the line. The introduction of striker Aduriz and midfielder Thiago nearly gave Spain the lead with both players missing half chances.
Spain began to grow desperate and in search of a winner the center-backs began to push forward. In the 87th minute Iniesta was supplied on the left-wing the midfield maestro whipped in a cross which allowed club mate and center-back Gerard Pique to head home Spain’s winner. The Spaniards dominated the entire game and deservedly won today. Petr Cech was exceptional in the Czech goal but he couldn’t be expected to save every shot.
Spain move joint top of Group D with Croatia while the Czech join Turkey at the bottom of the table.
Man of the Match – Andres Iniesta (Spain)
- Aritz Aduriz replaces Alvaro Morata 62 mins
- Thiago Alcantara replaces Cesc Fabergas 70 mins
- Pedro Rodriguez replaces Nolito 82 mins
Czech Republic –
- David Lafta replaces Thomas Necid 75 mins
- Josef Sural replaces Theodor Gebre Selassie 86 mins
- David Pavelka replaces Thomas Rosicky 88 mins
Yellow cards –
Spain – None
Czech Republic – David Limbersky