Euro 2024: Ex-Champions Spain Kickoff Their Campaign With Dominating 3-0 Win Over Croatia

Euro 2024: Ex-Champions Spain Kickoff Their Campaign With Dominating 3-0 Win Over Croatia

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz, and Daniel Carvajal star in Spain's win against Croatia in their opening match of Euro 2024

IANSUpdated: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 08:28 AM IST
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Spain players celebrating a goal against Croatia | Credits: Twitter

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz, and Daniel Carvajal scored once each in the first half as Spain got their UEFA Euro 2024 campaign off to a flying start with a 3-0 win against Croatia in a Group B encounter here on Saturday evening.

It was expected to be a hard-fought encounter between two sides that have done well in the past. With these two sides facing each other in a fourth consecutive Euro finals, it was La Roja who triumphed for a third time against familiar opponents with a ruthless and slick attacking display.

After dominating the early stages, former champions Spain took the lead in the 29th minute when Fabián Ruiz threaded a wonderful pinpoint pass through to Morata, who made no mistake to coolly score his seventh Euro finals goal for his country, three of those goals coming against Croatia.

Just minutes later, Fabián Ruiz went from provider to scorer, twisting and turning in the box before firing into the bottom-right corner to put Spain in total control.

Croatia responded well to that quickfire double, Josko Gvardiol stinging the fingertips of Unai Simon and Ante Budimir mere centimetres away from getting on the end of the rebound.

Lamine Yamal becomes youngest goal scorer in Euro Championship

Spain's 16-year-old winger Lamine Yamal made history by becoming the youngest player to ever feature in a European Championship match. It was the teenager who created his side's third goal just before half-time, his wicked cross turned in by Champions League final scorer Carvajal to cap off a superb first period from Luis de la Fuente's side.

Yamal was in the thick of the action again at the start of the second half, with only a brilliant reflex save from Dominik Livakovic denying him the honour of also becoming the youngest Euro scorer.

Croatia were handed a lifeline when Rodri brought down substitute Bruno Petkovic in the box with ten minutes to go, but Simon guessed correctly to dive to his right and save the forward's effort from the spot.

Croatia will now dust themselves down and go again against Albania on June 19 while Spain will face another former champion Italy the day after.

Switzerland defeat Hungary 3-1

Meanwhile, Switzerland kicked off their title quest with 3-1 win over Hungary in the first match of the Day 2 of the Euro 2024. Kwadwo Duah gave an early lead to Switzerland by netting a goal in the 12th minute of the match.

Before the end of the first match, Michel Aebischer extended Switzerland's lead by scoring the team's 2nd goal in the 45th minute. In the second half, Switzerland and Hungary relied on a defensive attack before the latter team's Barnabás Varga broke the Swiss defence by scoring a goal in the 66th minute.

Both teams challenged each other with intense plays and defensive attack. Breel Embolo furthered Switzerland's lead by scoring a goal in the extra time of three minutes after 90-minute play.

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