Thursday, July 25, 2024

Albania 0-1 Spain: Torres strike keeps La Roja perfect

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jun 2024

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Ferran Torres scored the only goal as a much-changed Spain made it three wins from three in Group B with a narrow 1-0 victory over Albania, who were eliminated from Euro 2024.

The Barcelona forward notched the decisive strike in the 13th minute at Dusseldorf Arena, where Luis de la Fuente made 10 changes with La Roja’s qualification for the knockout stages and top spot already secured.

Thomas Strakosha was called into early action to keep out Mikel Merino’s bouncing header.

However, the Albania goalkeeper was left helpless just minutes later when Torres peeled off the back of Mario Mitaj to latch onto Dani Olmo’s throughball, and guide his low shot in off the inside of the far post.

Spain wasted a flurry of chances before the break, with Torres and Merino sending their efforts just over the bar, before Kristjan Asllani forced a good save out of David Raya on the stroke of half-time.

La Roja went close again within two minutes of the restart, as Joselu fired narrowly wide on the volley.

Albania pushed for an equaliser at the other end with substitute Armando Broja twice calling Raya into action – in the 64th minute and second minute of stoppage time.

Nevertheless, that levelling goal would elude Sylvinho’s side who, following Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Italy in Leipzig, were condemned to fourth place in Group B and an early exit.

Data Debrief: Navas makes history for perfect Spain

Spain progress to the last 16 of a European Championship with a 100% group-stage record for the first time since 2008, the year they won the first of their two titles.

Among their 10 changes was Jesus Navas who, aged 38 years and 216 days, became the oldest player to represent La Roja at a major tournament.

Torres’ seventh direct goal involvement (five goals, two assists) is the joint-most by any Spain player since De la Fuente took charge (level with Joselu).

Meanwhile, Dani Olmo’s assist was his fifth at a major tournament since the start of Euro 2020, the most by any player during that span.

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