Euro 2020 – Who are Spain's strikers and why are they bad at penalties?

(Image credit: PA)

Spain went unbeaten in the group stage of the European Championship but it is fair to say that it was not all plain sailing.

Having lifted the trophy three times, Spain (opens in new tab) are the joint-most successful side in the history of this competition, along with Germany (opens in new tab).

Yet their attempt to enjoy another successful summer did not get off to the best of starts in Group E.

Spain drew their opening game 0-0 with Sweden (opens in new tab), whose defensive discipline and diligence frustrated the de facto home side in Seville.

Luis Enrique's team were then held to a 1-1 draw by Poland (opens in new tab), leaving their place in the competition up for grabs heading into the final round of group stage fixtures.

Spain were much improved against Slovakia (opens in new tab), though, and a 5-0 win took them through to the knockout phase in second place.

There are still question marks over this side, though, as Spain prepare to face Croatia in the round of 16 of Euro 2020 (opens in new tab) on Monday.

La Roja have had no trouble dominating possession up to now, but they lacked a clinical edge against Sweden and Poland.

A failure to take chances in the knockout rounds could see Spain crash out of the competition.

Luis Enrique's side did themselves no favours in Group E, as Gerardo Moreno and Alvaro Morata both missed penalties.

Moreno failed to find the net from 12 yards in the draw with Poland, and Morata saw his spot-kick saved by Martin Dubravka in the demolition of Slovakia.

Morata has started all three of Spain's games as the team's centre-forward, while Moreno - a striker at club level - has operated as a wide forward.

Remarkably, Spain have now missed each of their last five penalties, with Sergio Ramos (twice) and Abel Ruiz having also failed to convert in recent months.

According to reports in the Spanish press, even back-up goalkeeper David de Gea has been practicing penalties in training.

If Spain and Croatia cannot be separated after extra time on Monday, do not be surprised to see De Gea step up in the shoot-out - even though the Manchester United (opens in new tab) shot-stopper missed the decisive spot-kick in last month's Europa League final against Villarreal.

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