Monday, June 17, 2024

Spain 5-1 Northern Ireland: Five-star La Roja round off Euro 2024 preparations with a flourish

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Jun 2024

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Spain were at their ruthless best as they swept aside Northern Ireland to conclude their Euro 2024 preparations with an emphatic 5-1 triumph.

Luis de la Fuente’s side had put five goals past Andorra in their last outing, and repeated the trick in another fine performance on Saturday.

That is despite finding themselves a goal behind after just 66 seconds in Mallorca when Dan Ballard headed in from Caolan Boyd-Munce’s teasing delivery.

But the visitors’ joy was short-lived as two goals in six minutes courtesy of Pedri and Alvaro Morata saw normal service resume for the three-time European Champions.

The Barcelona midfielder netted his second of the evening after being picked out inside the area by Nico Williams to finish beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

La Roja had their fourth shortly before the break as another La Masia graduate took centre stage – Lamine Yamal chipping the ball to Fabian Ruiz, who scored his second international goal.

Having scored a hat-trick in Spain’s win over Andorra, Mikel Oyarzabal was on target again to cap off the rout, with teenager Yamal winning possession back in the final third before teeing up the Real Sociedad forward.

Data Debrief: Rampant Spain show no mercy

Spain have now lost just one of their last 27 home international fixtures (W22 D4), and are unbeaten in their last seven such games (W5 D1), netting 27 goals in that time.

Northern Ireland’s barren run against the Spaniards continues, and they are now winless in all 10 of their previous trips to Spain in all competitions, losing on each of their last six visits by an aggregate score of 3-19.

It was a brilliant performance from Yamal, who has been directly involved in five goals in just seven senior appearances (four starts) for Spain (two goals, three assists). His club-mate Pedri, meanwhile, is the youngest player to score more than once in a match for Spain since Ferran Torres’ hat-trick vs Germany in November 2020.

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