It all seemed too perfect. Just moments after Robert Lewandowski had dragged Poland back into it at the other end, Alvaro Morata had the chance to once again prove his critics wrong.

But with the goal gaping, Morata was unable to convert, as Spain followed up a 0-0 stalemate with Sweden with a 1-1 draw against Poland, La Roja failing to win their first two group games of a European Championship since Euro 1996.

Yet it had all been going well for Morata, who opened the scoring in the 25th minute when he prodded in from Gerard Moreno's cross-shot, with VAR awarding the goal after the linesman's incorrect offside flag.

Morata had charged off to celebrate with Luis Enrique, who came to the defence of Spain's forward after Monday's frustrating draw with Sweden in their Group E opener. 

He wasted Spain's best chance when he failed to beat Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen one-on-one – his attempt one of three the Juventus forward, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid, sent off target in that match.

But it was a Saturday night which ultimately, for both Morata and his Spain team-mates, ended in frustration once more in Seville.

It could easily have been very different. Lewandowski, who had squandered Poland's best chance of the first half when he struck straight at Unai Simon from point-blank range after Karol Swiderski had hit the post, making no mistake with what was just his second, and final, touch in the box within the width of the goal.

Lewandowski's towering header from Kamil Jozwiak's cross brought up his third major tournament goal – he is just the third Polish player to net in three separate major competitions, after Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach.

His goal keeps Poland's last-16 hopes alive in a group that remains wide open, though Spain should have been back ahead four minutes later.

Moreno was fouled by Jakub Moder, the offence spotted on a VAR check and referee Daniele Orsato pointing to the spot.

Unlike the composure he showed in the penalty shootout win over Manchester United in Villarreal's Europa League final triumph last month, Moreno missed the target, his low shot hitting the base of the left-hand upright.

 

Yet there was Morata, charging in to meet the rebound, the goal wide open in front of him. The net should have been rippling. Instead, Morata was looking at the sky in anguish, his shot having sliced off his in-step and well wide.

Two more big opportunities followed for Morata, who finished with a game-high four attempts – three of them on target – but on neither occasion could he beat the final Poland block.

Only Fernando Torres (five) has scored more Euro goals than Morata (four) for their country, but when he trudged off in the 87th minute it was his miss which lingered in the Andalusian air as Poland held on for a hard-earned draw, and Spain must beat Slovakia next week to ensure they are not a group-stage casualty. 

Jude Bellingham's record as the youngest player in European Championship history lasted just six days as Kacper Kozlowski made his major tournament bow for Poland.

Borussia Dortmund's Bellingham was introduced as a substitute in England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia, aged 17 years and 349 days.

He became the competition's most junior star, taking the honour from Netherlands left-back Jetro Willems, who featured against Denmark at Euro 2012 at the age of 18 years and 71 days.

However, Bellingham's benchmark was quickly surpassed as Poland introduced Kozlowski in Saturday's Group E clash with Spain.

Midfielder Kozlowzki, who made his senior Pogon Szczecin debut at 15, was 17 years and 246 days old as he stepped off the bench to replace Mateusz Klich moments after Robert Lewandowski equalised in Seville. 

Having been introduced with 35 minutes to play, Kozlowski completed just one of two attempted passes.

However, the teenager did complete two of four dribbles, contest six duels and win two fouls while having only nine touches in a 1-1 draw.

Robert Lewandowski rescued Poland with a second-half equaliser and Gerard Moreno missed a penalty as Spain were held to a 1-1 Euro 2020 draw at La Cartuja Stadium.

Álvaro Morata silenced his critics by opening the scoring in the Group E encounter in Seville on Saturday after coming under fire for his performance in a stalemate against Sweden.

A defeat would have ended Poland's hopes of qualifying for the round of 16, but their record goalscorer and captain Lewandowski equalised with a header nine minutes into the second half.

Moreno failed to put Luis Enrique's side back in front from the spot just after Lewandowski's leveller, leaving Spain and Poland third and fourth in the group respectively with one game to play.

La Roja were in front 25 minutes in, Morata turning in Moreno's tame shot from close range with his right foot and belatedly running away to embrace coach Luis Enrique after the VAR ruled he was onside.

Moreno, starting at the expense of Ferran Torres, curled a free-kick narrowly wide before Karol Swiderski volleyed a glorious chance to equalise off target from point-blank range.

Swiderski rattled the post with a thunderous left-foot drive and Lewandowski was denied by Unai Simon following up, with Moreno firing into the side-netting late in an entertaining first half.

Poland were level nine minutes into the second half, the prolific Lewandowski rising above Aymeric Laporte to brilliantly head home Kamil Jozwiak's inviting cross.

Lewandowski had barely finished celebrating when referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot after taking another look at Jakub Moder's tackle on Morata.

Moreno was unable to restore Spain's advantage, striking the post, and Morata failed to spare his blushes when he put the rebound wide with the goal gaping.

History was made when Poland substitute Kacper Kozlowski became the youngest player to feature in a European Championship aged 17 and 246 days in a tense encounter which remained in the balance.

Wojciech Szczesny spread himself magnificently seven minutes from time to thwart Morata as Spain endured a frustrating evening and Poland stayed alive.

Marek Hamsik remains bullish about Slovakia's hopes of reaching the Euro 2020 knockout stage ahead of their final group game away to Spain.

Slovakia lost 1-0 to Sweden on Friday in St Petersburg, leaving them on three points from two games after defeating Poland 2-1 in their opening fixture.

Spain, who drew 0-0 with Sweden on matchday one, face on Poland in Seville on Saturday, before their final group clash with Slovakia, which will determine group placings.

"It's still open. We have to recover well," Slovakia star Hamsik said after the Sweden defeat.

"Spain are the group favourites and also contenders to win the tournament. It will be very challenging."

Sweden scored the game's only goal in the 77th minute from an Emil Forsberg penalty, won after a foul from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The goal prevented Slovakia from taking a strong position in Group E, with Sweden moving into top spot on four points, ahead of Hamsik's side on three.

"It's a pity," Hamsik added. "If they hadn't scored from a penalty we would probably have got a draw, and it would have been a 'golden' point.

"We were a little more passive in the second half and we paid dearly for it."

Forsberg's penalty ended a run of 365 minutes without a goal for Sweden at the European Championship, marking their first since their opening game at Euro 2016 against the Republic of Ireland.

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson was delighted with his side's position after two games and praised Real Sociedad star Alexander Isak – who impressed and played a part in winning the decisive penalty with his pass for Robin Quaison.

"It's really good to see him on the pitch, he's a huge talent," Andersson said. "He's a young player who's still got a lot of room for improvement. I think there is a lot more to come from him. He played really well today."

Luis Enrique confirmed under-fire Alvaro Morata will start Spain's Euro 2020 Group E clash against Poland on Saturday and insisted the striker is in a positive frame of mind.

Morata, whose loan at Juventus from Atletico Madrid was extended for another season this week, has been heavily criticised in recent days for his display in Spain's 0-0 draw with Sweden on Monday.

The 28-year-old squandered Spain's best chance when he fired wide with just Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen to beat – one of three off-target attempts before he was substituted in the 66th minute.

Morata, however, has netted three of Spain's four most recent European Championship goals and is his country's leading scorer since the 2016 tournament, with 16 in 32 appearances.

Luis Enrique has no worries over his form as Spain look to avoid opening a Euros tournament with no wins from their opening two matches for the first time since 1996.

"I have said that he and 10 others will play [against Poland] as an encouragement for him to find the greatest of trusts, not because he did not perform," the Spain head coach told a media conference.

"Morata does many important things in attack and defence and I am not going to give anything away.

"There is only one player who has scored more goals than Morata with 41 caps, only David Villa. For example, our great forwards like Raul or [Fernando] Torres had less than him with 41 games."

Asked how Morata's emotional state is, Luis Enrique responded: "It's very good. There are times when you talk to a player when non-verbal language tells you more and already in the game I saw it was perfect.

"Every week with Alvaro we have taught him things that I want him to improve, but this week I have not had to teach him anything. I like his smile at work and his attitude. I convey my trust in Alvaro and in everyone."

Gerard Moreno came off the bench against Sweden, with many Spain fans calling for the Villarreal striker to replace him up front from the start against Poland.

Luis Enrique, however, was keen for the focus to move away from who plays in the central striking role, insisting his side's goal threat should come from every area of the pitch.

"It is very odd to think that only the number nine of the national team has to score," the coach added.

"Everyone has the responsibility to score a goal just as in defence we all defend. We have called up the four forwards who scored the most goals in their championships throughout the season and the four of them understand each other perfectly."

Saturday's match in Seville will be the first meeting between Spain and Poland at a major tournament.

Spain have won eight of their 10 matches against Poland (D1 L1), with the sole Polish victory taking place over 40 years ago (November 1980), in a friendly played in Barcelona (2-1).

Had Euro 2020 actually started on time last year, it's fair to say Pedri wouldn't have been in the Spain squad.

Although he impressed for his country at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup, Pedri did not make a LaLiga appearance until September 2020.

Even earning a spot in Barca's first-team squad wasn't a given after he linked up with them from Las Palmas. It was initially expected he would either go on loan to a smaller LaLiga club, or feature for the B team.

But Pedri suitably impressed Ronald Koeman in pre-season and was fast-tracked into the senior side and he went on to play in all but one of their 38 LaLiga games.

The teenager then earned his first call-up to the Spain squad in March, and at that point few would have bet against him playing a leading role for the national team for the next 15 years.

Comparisons with Andres Iniesta have been prevalent ever since he broke into the Las Palmas team as a 16-year-old, such is his effortless ability on the ball, and for both Barca and Spain he is expected to carry out a similar function of bringing the team forward with the ball at his feet.

 

While Spain weren't exactly impressive in their 0-0 draw with Sweden, their inability to find the net despite dominating a worrying sign, Pedri's comfort in such a role on his major tournament debut was at least a reason for encouragement.

Aged 18 years, six months and 18 days, Pedri became Spain's youngest-ever player to feature at a European Championship, breaking a record that had stood for 41 years.

Though there was no hint of nervousness on his part, the midfielder getting on the ball with great regularity as Spain tried to plot a way through Sweden's packed defence.

The only non-defender to better his 113 touches was Koke (128), but in fairness the Atletico Madrid man often dropped into the right-back area to occupy the space vacated by Marcos Llorente, thus almost making him an orthodox full-back in possession.

But what was particularly notable about Pedri's display was his desire to keep hold of the ball.

 

His 60 carries – defined as movements of five metres or more in possession – wasn't bettered by any other player on matchday one.

Similarly, Frenkie de Jong (714m) is the only midfielder to better Pedri's 582.4m in terms of overall carry distance, while the youngster's 14 progressive carries of at least 10m is also second to just his Barca team-mate (15) among midfielders. The Netherlands star has played 180 minutes to his colleague's 90.

To add another layer of context to Pedri's work, Iniesta's 109 carries from four games at Euro 2016 was the seventh-most at the tournament.

Another outing like the Sweden game for Pedri against Poland on Saturday will see him surpass that figure posted by Iniesta. While the Barca great was 32 at the time, he was still very much among the world's best.

Firstly, this all highlights how much confidence Pedri has in himself, but it also shows the trust Luis Enrique and the rest of the squad have in the 18-year-old.

 

One area some may want to see an improvement in is his decisiveness in the final third, as he failed to make a single key pass against Sweden – though it's still perfectly arguable that Spain shouldn't have needed more creativity, given four players set up at least two shooting opportunities, while La Roja's 2.35 expected goals (xG) value shows they were let down by poor finishing rather than a lack of ingenuity.

Either way, Spain are likely to face similar tactics against Poland as they did versus Sweden, with an emphasis on Luis Enrique's side to pick a way through a rigid backline.

Pedri's maturity and positivity on the ball should at least ensure La Roja have the possessional nous to probe and test Poland's resolve at the back.

Robert Lewandowski will call upon struggles from the early part of his career as he aims to end a barren run on the biggest stages for Poland in Saturday's Euro 2020 match with Spain.

Poland went down 2-1 in their Group E opener against Slovakia, with Bayern Munich superstar Lewandowski unable to haul his side out of trouble after Grzegorz Krychowiak was sent off and Milan Skriniar hit a 69th-minute winner.

Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to find the net with his past 17 attempts in such games.

However, an overall career return of 66 goals in 120 caps – both national records – mean he is able to look at the bigger picture.

"I never really believed I could reach these figures," he told UEFA.com when discussing his overall numbers for Poland.

"I remember at the start of my Poland career when I wasn't scoring many goals – I had problems getting chances, controlling the ball.

"The feeling that if I don't get a chance, another one will come along and I will still score – well, I remember when it was hard to get that!"

Spain's goalless draw with Sweden was a game to forget for their own centre-forward, Alvaro Morata.

The Juventus striker missed a glorious chance before half-time and failed to work goalkeeper Robin Olsen with any of his three attempts.

"The big thing is not to think too much about the past. It's gone," he told UEFA.com, suggesting the opposite approach to Lewandowski.

"The Sweden game didn't go as I wanted and I have to accept that. The next day you just work harder to ensure that next time you'll put it away and win."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Spain – Alvaro Morata

There is already clamour for Villarreal's prolific Gerard Moreno to be granted an opportunity ahead of Morata after a comparatively lively cameo against Sweden, although the man in possession of the starting spot could crown a good week personally with a strong display, having extended his loan at Juve from Atletico Madrid for another year. The 28-year-old has scored three of Spain's past four Euros goals and is his country's leading scorer since the 2016 tournament, with 16 in 32 appearances.

Poland – Mateusz Klich

There will also be emphasis on the supply line to Lewandowski firing to great effect for Poland. Piotr Zielinski led the way with four key passes against Slovakia but Klich only created one chance. There is certainly room for improvement for the Leeds United man, whose four goals and five assists in last season's Premier League were records in both categories for a Polish player.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first meeting between Spain and Poland at a major tournament. Spain have won eight of their 10 matches against Poland, with the sole Polish victory taking place over 40 years ago. Since 2000, Spain have hosted their opponents twice and racked up an aggregate advantage of 9-0.
- After drawing against Sweden, Spain could open a Euros tournament with no wins from their opening two matches for the first time since 1996. They haven't failed to score in consecutive matches since the 2013 Confederations Cup.
- Poland have won just two of their 12 matches at the European Championship (D6 L4), failing to score more than one goal in any of those 12 encounters.
- Against Sweden, Spain completed 830 passes and recorded a possession figure of 85.1 per cent - both were tournament highs since Opta have full passing data for the Euros.
- Manchester City's Ferran Torres (seven) was one of only three players born in or after the year 2000 to score at least seven goals in the Premier League in 2020-21.

Spain captain Sergio Busquets admitted it was "almost impossible" to stay optimistic when he tested positive for COVID-19 just as Euro 2020 was about to begin.

On Friday, Busquets made an emotional return to the squad following a frustrating stretch in isolation, hugging coach Luis Enrique and team-mates as he arrived back in camp.

The Barcelona midfielder was removed from Spain's training base near Madrid and whisked away by ambulance on June 7, yet now he has been given the all-clear and is poised to contribute as Spain attempt to book a last-16 spot.

Busquets said he was "very happy, on a high" to learn he was healthy to rejoin the group, but recalled the sorry moment when he was told he had the virus.

"The doctor called me, he told me, and at that moment you have a lot of feelings, such as that you don't believe it, concern about what might happen, whether it could be a false positive, many things," Busquets said.

"The moment I got into an ambulance and turned for home, I went through everything. You try to be positive but in those moments it is almost impossible and you think about when you will be well, if you will be able to return, if you will get back on time.

"There are many unanswered questions that go through your head in a bad moment."

Busquets is likely to play his first match of the tournament when Spain face Slovakia next Wednesday in their final Group E game.

Speaking in a video released on the team's official Twitter page, Busquets said: "I am very grateful, not only to team-mates, but also to the president, the staff, the coach, the entire group that is in the bubble."

The 32-year-old said he had kept in constant contact with those in the Spain camp, adding they made it clear "they were waiting for me with open arms".

"I have missed you so much, you don't know how much," he told his team-mates.

"Thank you very much for all the messages worrying about me, making me feel like I was here even though I was at home. I am very proud of all of you, of the first game, of everything you are doing here and that is the way, so there is a lot left and I'm sure everything will go well."

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They play their second group game against Poland in Seville on Saturday, with Busquets expected to be a spectator after missing almost two weeks of training.

While Busquets will bolster the midfield whenever he returns to action, Spain have pressing issues in attack following the Sweden game.

They have now failed to score in two of their past three matches – having also drawn a blank in the pre-tournament friendly against Portugal earlier this month – and that is as many scoreless performances as they had in their previous 51 internationals.

Spain have not experienced successive games without finding the back of the net since 2013 at the Confederations Cup, and should they again miss out against Poland it would mean the Slovakia game becomes hugely important.

Spain captain Sergio Busquets admitted it was "almost impossible" to stay optimistic when he tested positive for COVID-19 just as Euro 2020 was about to begin.

On Friday, Busquets made an emotional return to the squad following a frustrating stretch in isolation, hugging coach Luis Enrique and team-mates as he arrived back in camp.

The Barcelona midfielder was removed from Spain's training base near Madrid and whisked away by ambulance on June 7, yet now he has been given the all-clear and is poised to contribute as Spain attempt to book a last-16 spot.

Busquets said he was "very happy, on a high" to learn he was healthy to rejoin the group, but recalled the sorry moment when he was told he had the virus.

"The doctor called me, he told me, and at that moment you have a lot of feelings, such as that you don't believe it, concern about what might happen, whether it could be a false positive, many things," Busquets said.

"The moment I got into an ambulance and turned for home, I went through everything. You try to be positive but in those moments it is almost impossible and you think about when you will be well, if you will be able to return, if you will get back on time.

"There are many unanswered questions that go through your head in a bad moment."

Busquets is likely to play his first match of the tournament when Spain face Slovakia next Wednesday in their final Group E game.

Speaking in a video released on the team's official Twitter page, Busquets said: "I am very grateful, not only to team-mates, but also to the president, the staff, the coach, the entire group that is in the bubble."

The 32-year-old said he had kept in constant contact with those in the Spain camp, adding they made it clear "they were waiting for me with open arms".

"I have missed you so much, you don't know how much," he told his team-mates.

"Thank you very much for all the messages worrying about me, making me feel like I was here even though I was at home. I am very proud of all of you, of the first game, of everything you are doing here and that is the way, so there is a lot left and I'm sure everything will go well."

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They play their second group game against Poland in Seville on Saturday, with Busquets expected to be a spectator after missing almost two weeks of training.

While Busquets will bolster the midfield whenever he returns to action, Spain have pressing issues in attack following the Sweden game.

They have now failed to score in two of their past three matches – having also drawn a blank in the pre-tournament friendly against Portugal earlier this month – and that is as many scoreless performances as they had in their previous 51 internationals.

Spain have not experienced successive games without finding the back of the net since 2013 at the Confederations Cup, and should they again miss out against Poland it would mean the Slovakia game becomes hugely important.

Sergio Busquets is back in the Spain squad after returning a negative coronavirus test.

The Barcelona midfielder had been isolating since testing positive for the virus on June 7, which prompted concern of a possible outbreak in the camp prior to the start of Euro 2020.

Coach Luis Enrique summoned players to train in a parallel bubble in case of further infections, but only Diego Llorente returned what was later suspected to be a false positive test.

On Friday, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said Busquets would be returning to the squad after testing negative for COVID-19 and travel with his team-mates for Saturday's match with Poland in Seville.

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They have won eight out of 10 previous matches against Poland, with their only defeat coming in a friendly in Barcelona in November 1980.

La Roja are looking to avoid consecutive scoreless performances for the first time since the 2013 Confederations Cup.

 

Aymeric Laporte has insisted he is paying little attention to the "political agenda" driving criticism of his surprise selection in the Spain squad for Euro 2020.

Born in Agen in the south of France, the defender represented Les Bleus' youth teams from U17s level all the way through to the U21s.

He was also twice called up by the senior national side but injury and a failure to convince manager Didier Deschamps of his worth meant he had not made an appearance by the age of 27.

However, an eight-year stint with Athletic Bilbao meant Laporte, whose great grandparents hailed from the Basque region, remained eligible for Spain, and Luis Enrique took advantage by including him in the squad for this summer's European Championship.

The Manchester City man performed impressively in his first competitive appearance for his new nation - a 0-0 draw with Sweden - winning all three of his aerial duels and completing more passes (115) than any other player on the pitch.

But the move continues to prove controversial in some quarters, with one Spanish journalist recently asking Laporte if he "[felt] Spanish enough to be able to defend the badge, the flag, the nation, the anthem".

Still, the player remains unperturbed by the debate surrounding his involvement and told AFP: "There is a bit of everything, like anywhere, there are a lot of people who are in favour but there are many who are also against.

"There is a political agenda behind all that and I can see that it's not easy for everyone to accept. I also understand those people. Everything is fine, for now.

"There will be worse times to come and also the opposite. I just try to make the most of the good moments and push the bad ones aside because otherwise I know it'll be a rollercoaster."

Laporte's inclusion was considered even more contentious given it came off the back of Spain and Real Madrid icon Sergio Ramos being excluded from the squad.

But he insisted the two decisions were not directly linked, and lavished praise upon his fellow centre-back.

"This is what the press wanted to blame me for a bit," he added. "The manager said he was injured so it has nothing to do with me. I'm also not the only centre-back in the squad so I don't think it's my fault.

"There's no extra pressure. I'm here to do my job, to fight for Spain in my own way.

"He is an icon in the world of football. I have watched him a lot since I was young. He is the benchmark.

"I love his character, not his aggressive side, the red cards and all that, but his resilience to make a mistake and still come back stronger, not to hide behind his reputation. He is always ready to stand up and be counted."

Spain have failed to score in two of their last three outings, having taken 51 international fixtures to produce two goalless games prior to that.

But Laporte is calm about a disappointing start to this summer's tournament, which he hopes to put right against Poland on Saturday.

"The results will say everything," he continued. "A lot of people think they know football but then the complete opposite to what they predict happens.

"We just try to do our job and I would even say so much the better if they think that we're not ready because it takes the pressure off. It motivates us even more."

Pedri has backed Alvaro Morata to prove he can be a leader in the Spain team after the striker had an off night in the goalless draw with Sweden.

Morata missed one particularly golden opportunity late in the first half when he fired wide from a clear chance inside the penalty area.

His ambitious attempt to curl the ball into the bottom-right corner suggested Morata was perhaps overthinking a straightforward task, and another squandered opening early in the second half did not reflect well on the experienced frontman.

"He's feeling good. He is very strong mentally," Pedri said on Tuesday in a Spain news conference. "He is a great player and gives us a lot. I am convinced that from now on the goals will come."

Morata, who spent last season on loan to Juventus from Atletico Madrid, had three goal attempts against Sweden but did not hit the target with any.

The stalemate in Seville was a blow to Spain's hopes of making a strong start to their Euro 2020 campaign, and Pedri, the 18-year-old Barcelona midfielder who was an assured presence in Luis Enrique's team, hopes the public stand by the team. There were jeers on Monday night for Morata.

"It is much better to play when people applaud you than when they whistle at you," he said. "I want to keep the applause, which helps us more.

"For me it was a game that we dominated from start to finish. They also had two chances, that's true, but we played a great game and if we continue to create chances in the end the goal will go in."

Spain had a staggering 85.1 per cent of possession and led the attempted passes count by 917 to 162.

Six different Spain players, including Pedri, each completed more passes than the entire Sweden team.

Pedri, on the night he became Spain's youngest player in a major championship, matched Jordi Alba for a game-high 90 attempted passes inside Sweden's half.

There were complaints in the Spain camp about the state of the pitch at La Cartuja, with Luis Enrique unhappy it was too dry a surface to be ideal for his team's slick style of play.

The stadium is where Spain will play Poland in their second group game on Saturday, and they also face Slovakia there four days later.

Pedri agreed with his coach but said Spain should have been able to cope.

"The grass is no excuse," he said. "We did not draw because of the grass, but it was not in the best condition. We hope that for the next game it will be better to be able to play our football."

Spain head coach Luis Enrique and his players leapt to the defence of Alvaro Morata after he was booed in their frustrating 0-0 draw with Sweden at Euro 2020.

Morata squandered Spain's best chance of their Euro 2020 Group E opener when he fired wide with just Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen to beat on Monday.

Spain had dominated the match in Seville as they made 917 passes and enjoyed 85 possession, but lacked a cutting edge in attack.

Morata was even subjected to boos and whistles by a section of Spain supporters, having failed to register any of his three attempts on target before he was substituted in the 66th minute.

"He has the personality to endure it and I would more like [him] to be applauded," Luis Enrique told a post-match media conference. 

"Morata is a great player who does things well in attack and defence.

"I have heard the whistles for Morata but then he was applauded off. He does a lot for the team and he is used to these situations so I do not think it will affect him."

Spain midfielders Marcos Llorente and Pedri also backed Morata, who has not scored in his last four international matches, to come good.

"Today he was not lucky in the face of goal, but he will be," Llorente said.

"I don't think the whistles are good. Anyone who was inside would like to be supported and applauded.

"We've got two group games left and the support of our fans is a great help."

Pedri added: "We can all fail, we all do. He [Morata] works a lot for the team and that can be seen on the field. He needs support. I tell people to keep trusting us, we are a great team.

"We created so many chances that I'm sure the goals are coming. I know there will now be good video analysis to see why it is we didn't score."

Luis Enrique felt the playing surface at Seville's La Cartuja stadium hampered his players in front of goal.

He said: "What we try to do is to generate scoring chances, the field was not helping much. If you haven't noticed the players have complained. 

"We have generated chances, we haven't scored them."

There was more drama on day four of Euro 2020, although the pace of the tournament slowed just a little in Seville.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia claimed precious wins before attention turned to Spain and Sweden, the two presumed favourites in Group E.

But neither team had the imagination to forge a breakthrough, even if Spain were completely dominant.

That stalemate features as Stats Perform reviews the action with the best Opta data.

 

Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick shocks Scots from record-breaking range

Patrik Schick's brilliant brace at Hampden Park gave the Czech Republic their first win over Scotland since October 2010.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker's double was the first from a Czech player at a major tournament since Tomas Rosicky against the United States at the 2006 World Cup, while Milan Baros managed it at Euro 2004 versus Denmark.

Schick's second was particularly special, lobbing 36-year-old David Marshall – Scotland's second-oldest player at a major tournament – from 49.7 yards, the longest distance for a goal at the Euros since records began in 1980. It surpassed Torsten Frings' 38.6-yard effort for Germany against the Netherlands in 2004.

That strike took Schick to eight goals (and two assists) in his past nine international starts, but the headed opener alone might have been enough.

Scotland have now failed to score in five of their seven Euros matches and five of their past six opening matches at major tournaments. They have lost five of those six, too.

 

Poland 1-2 Slovakia: Same Lewy woes but new pain for Szczesny

Poland's big names endured frustrating outings in a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia that means they have now won just one of their past 10 opening matches at major tournaments.

Milan Skriniar's third goal in four appearances for Slovakia settled the Group E fixture, but Poland had been on the back foot since Wojciech Szczesny's 18th-minute own goal.

He became the first goalkeeper to put through his own net at a European Championship, while Grzegorz Krychowiak's subsequent red card made this one of only two examples of a team at the Euros scoring an own goal and having a player sent off in the same game (also Czechoslovakia versus the Netherlands in 1976).

Szczesny had been the most recent Poland player dismissed at a major tournament back in 2012.

Karol Linetty did equalise for Poland 32 seconds into the second half – the second-fastest goal after half-time, behind Marcel Coras for Romania against Germany in 1984 (21 seconds) – but another off day for Robert Lewandowski harmed their hopes of victory before Skriniar's strike.

Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to register a goal with any of his 17 attempts since netting against Portugal at Euro 2016.

 

Spain 0-0 Sweden: Luis Enrique's side luckless in Seville

Spain will wonder how they did not earn all three points against Sweden in the tournament's first goalless draw.

La Roja dominated 85 per cent of the possession, attempted 917 passes and completed 830 of them. All three figures are records since 1980.

Luis Enrique's side were frustratingly profligate and Spain have now won just one of their past six opening matches at major tournaments.

The only positive was an 11th Spanish clean sheet in their past 14 games at the Euros, with this remarkably the first time Sweden – who showed little attacking ambition – have drawn a blank in a Euros opener.

They have now failed to score in three consecutive games in the competition, though, and failed to show how they might end that run against Slovakia on Friday.

We've wondered throughout the build-up whether Spain are realistic contenders to win Euro 2020. After Monday's goalless draw with Sweden, it feels like we're no closer to an answer.

La Roja began their quest for a record fourth European Championship title in the hot evening air of Seville's La Cartuja stadium, the sparse crowd in fine voice, the players looking sharp, their early passing as crisp as Luis Enrique's brilliant white shirt.

Yet so soporific was the heat, humidity and patient midfield build-up that, come the 90th minute, you'd have forgiven every fan in the stands for nodding off.

That's not to say this was a poor performance from Spain. Rather, it was what we have come to expect over the past 15 years: authority in possession bordering on totalitarian, swarming opponents on the rare occasion the ball got away. Sweden completed two passes in the Spain half in the opening 20 minutes and ended the contest with 14.9 per cent of the ball, easily the lowest recorded figure at this tournament since at least 1980. Unfortunately for Spain, they never looked uncomfortable.

It was very similar to the goalless draw with Portugal in the warm-up game in Madrid. It also bore a likeness to a match almost exactly eight years ago, when Vicente del Bosque's side started their Confederations Cup campaign against Uruguay in which they had 92 per cent of the ball in the first nine minutes.

The difference that day was the passing had a purpose. They scored twice but should really have got more, and they only conceded through a spectacular Luis Suarez free-kick. How Luis Enrique would love to have his old Barcelona striker in this side.

These days, there is no Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso or Cesc Fabregas in midfield, no roving David Silva and David Villa in attack. It is accepted that this Spain can't do things in quite the same way as that remarkable squad that won consecutive European Championships either side of the 2010 World Cup. They're not expected to play the same way.

The problem here was that they seemed to try.

Spain completed 419 passes in the first half alone, the highest figure in the opening 45 minutes of a European Championship game since at least 1980, but conjured only three shots on target. Alvaro Morata wasted the best opening, skewing a shot wide after a rare mistake in the redoubtable Sweden rearguard.

 

In the second half, that shot count dropped to two on target, both of which came in injury time: a soft header from Gerard Moreno and a snapshot from Pablo Sarabia. The clearest chances fell Sweden's way, the excellent Alexander Isak miscuing a strike onto Marcos Llorente and the post, and Marcus Berg somehow scuffing wide with the goal at his mercy.

Again, this was not a horrible display of the kind produced at the 2014 World Cup, when Spain opened with a 5-1 loss to the Netherlands. Their control was practically absolute and, had Morata and Koke shown more first-half composure, the contest could have been over at half-time. As with the Portugal match, when Morata hit the bar in the final seconds, the difference between a win and a draw was slim. This is also the team that put six past Germany last November, so it's hardly the time for panic stations.

The problem is that nobody quite seemed sure what to expect from Spain before these finals, and this was hardly a convincing explanation. Even with Sergio Busquets sidelined and Sergio Ramos watching at home, the ghosts of the old guard permeated this performance – a performance dictated by tradition rather than fresh ideas.

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