Reigning champions Spain came to France as third favourites for the Euro 2016 title. They left it late against Czech Republic in their first group game, but their performance against Turkey suggests they’re hitting form at just the right time.
“His bursts from midfield unlock the tightest of defences, while his vision has only refined as the years pass…” Andres Iniesta is doing his best to prove he doesn’t need to roll back the years, merely continue getting better with age.
The Barcelona midfielder had a 94% pass completion rate, completed 3/6 take-ons and created three chances from open play against Turkey and barely made it out of second gear. He dictated play from start to finish and the only surprise of the evening was that six of his 99 passes went astray.
Though Turkey tried to take the game to Spain in the opening minutes, as soon as Spain went ahead their heads dropped. Co-commentator on ITV’s coverage of the match, Tony Pulis, questioned the team’s desire and he made a fair point given how deep they sat and bereft of ideas they were.
Turkey’s main men, Arda Turan and Hakan Calhanoglu failed to make any sort of impact - Calhanoglu was subbed at half-time and Turkey captain, Turan endured jeers from his own fans in the second. They had four shots - none of which were on target - and failed to create any chances between them.
Morata and Nolito silence critics
Spain's goalscoring onus is on Alvaro Morata and after receiving criticism for his showing against the Czech Republic, he went some way to making up for it against Turkey. The 23-year-old has now scored four of Spain’s most recent eight goals.
Nolito showed why Barcelona were so keen to lure him back to Camp Nou last January. He caused all kinds of trouble with his dribbles and accurate crosses, providing the assist for the opener before getting on the scoresheet himself.
The 29-year-old only made his Spain debut in November 2014, but has since become a key figure for La Roja.
David de Gea broke a record without breaking a sweat. By keeping a clean sheet - this one in particular never looked in doubt - in his first 5 competition internationals, De Gea surpasses Gordan Banks’ record of 442 minutes without conceding after making his big tournament bow.