Pedri's own goal for Spain in Monday's last-16 tie with Croatia was the ninth scored at Euro 2020 – as many as seen in each of the previous editions combined.

The Spain midfielder played a pass back to goalkeeper Unai Simon from close to the halfway line and his team-mate failed to control the ball, allowing it to roll beyond him and into the net.

The own goal was initially credited to Simon before going to Pedri – in the same game the Barcelona talent became the youngest player to start a knockout game in the European Championships.

At 18 years and 215 days, he beats the record set by England's Wayne Rooney (18 years and 244 days) against Portugal in 2004.

Pedri joins Merih Demiral, Wojciech Szczesny, Mats Hummels, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Lukas Hradecky, Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka in putting into his own net in this year's tournament.

Only nine own goals were scored in the previous 15 Euros: Anton Ondrus, Lyuboslav Penev, Dejan Govedarica, Igor Tudor, Jorge Andrade, Glen Johnson, Ciaran Clark, Birkir Mar Saevarsson and Gareth McAuley were the unfortunate players.

Pedri's bizarre own goal was officially registered from a distance of 49.4 yards, making it the longest-ever netted in the Euros and the first ever scored from outside the box.

Watching Alvaro Morata toil at Euro 2020 has been almost tragic, with every miss seemingly guaranteed to invite some form of pile-on, whether on social media or from fans inside the stadium.

Rarely do footballers inspire feelings of sympathy, with fans perhaps generally forgetting that these entertainers performing for our satisfaction are humans too, carrying out a job like any other member of society.

Maybe it is the money they're paid that prevents certain individuals from feeling empathy for footballers, but surely even the most vociferous cheerleaders of "footballers' wages for soldiers" and other comparable arguments must have felt some kind of compassion for Morata at one time or another during this tournament.

Even before a ball was kicked, Morata was already a hot topic of conversation after he was widely jeered by the home crowd during Spain's 0-0 warm-up friendly draw with Portugal at the Wanda Metropolitano, the home of the club – Atletico Madrid – that owns him. Just 11 days later it was confirmed he would be spending another season on loan at Juventus rather than return.

While Spain as a collective were booed in that game, Morata certainly bore the brunt of it, the crowd making their opinions known after he had wasted four chances. One of those hit the crossbar, meaning he was literally a matter of inches away from winning the match and capping off an otherwise impressive individual performance with a goal.

It has been much the same story during the tournament. No matter how many of those associated with the squad – including Luis Enrique, Dani Olmo, Koke and Aymeric Laporte – publicly defend their colleague, it seems the boo-boys have their target and will not waver.

And the particularly sad aspect of it all is that Morata revealed in a recent interview that even his wife and children have been victims of the abuse when attending Spain's group games at La Cartuja.

But has Morata even been that bad at Euro 2020? Generally speaking, you would have to say no.

 

Now, there is undoubtedly an elephant in the room: his wasteful finishing. No one is going to try and convince you Morata has been effective in front of goal – after all, the data says the exact opposite as his one goal comes from an xG (expected goals) value of 2.9.

In fact, only his team-mate Gerard Moreno has a worse xG differential (2.1) in the group games at Euro 2020, so there's no getting away from the fact Morata has not been clinical enough. On top of that, Morata has missed more Opta-defined "big chances" (four) than any other player in the tournament.

This isn't a new phenomenon, though; since the start of 2017-18 only Lorenzo Insigne (7.8), Gabriel Jesus (9.85) and Edin Dzeko (16.85) have underperformed their xG by more than Morata (7.3) among forwards in the top five leagues (minimum 40 goals scored).

Additionally, among the same group of players since 2017-18, only Alassane Plea (70.3 per cent) has missed a greater proportion of his big chances than Morata (66.4 per cent).

But, intriguingly, no one had more shots on target during the group stage at Euro 2020 than Morata, his six from 11 attempts exactly the same as top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

This suggests the problem is an age-old one with Morata: composure. So much of this part of the game comes down to mentality, and mental health is something Morata has commendably been open about for much of his career.

 

He previously spoke about how mental illnesses should be considered ailments much like physical injuries, and in 2018 he revealed he was seeing a psychologist while at Chelsea.

In that sense, if we consider the incessant abuse of him, Morata's arguably performing better than anyone could feasibly expect.

Now, that raises the question of whether Luis Enrique should have taken Morata out of the firing line before things reached this stage.

It surely cannot be conducive to positive mental health to have 16,000 people enthusiastically communicating that something doesn't impress them much, as if Morata was performing keepy-uppies on stage at a Shania Twain concert.

But the striker insisted last week that he has found himself motivated by the jeers, particularly prior to the penalty against Slovakia. Admittedly, he did miss it.

"I'm proud of the fact I picked up the ball [to take the penalty] after people booed me in the warm-up," he said. "A few years ago, I would have been devastated but I'm really motivated. Whoever thinks the opposite doesn't know me."

It's also worth considering that, while there have been problems with Morata in front of goal, he has otherwise been a positive influence on the team.

For example, Spain's six shot-ending high turnovers have only been bettered by four teams following all group fixtures, while Morata fits into that philosophy given the fact he has won possession in the final third three times – only Memphis Depay and Ronaldo (four each) managed more in the group stage among forwards.

Similarly, Morata brings bursts of positivity and drive to Spain once he gets on the ball, as demonstrated by the fact he has recorded eight progressive carries measuring between five and 10 metres. The only out-and-out strikers to do better in the group stages were Alexander Isak and Ronaldo.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Morata ranks in the top 10 for forwards involved in open-play sequences that end in a shot (12), while his 24 touches in the opposition's box ranked him second behind Kylian Mbappe (27) ahead of the knockout fixtures. Both statistics are further evidence that he has been actively involved in keeping Spain in the ascendancy.

 

Unfortunately for Morata, many will look no further than chances converted when evaluating a striker's performances, and in tournament football when the action is so condensed, conclusions are 100 times more reactionary. Just ask Harry Kane.

But as long as Luis Enrique retains faith and the opportunities keep coming, there remains the chance of a Hollywood-esque conclusion to the hard-on-his-luck tale that has seemed to epitomise the past few years of Morata's career.

In a 2006 biopic of stockbroker Chris Gardner's life, Will Smith portrays a man who has to overcome countless setbacks on his path to making a name for himself.

The script is written for Morata to become the decisive player in a victorious Euro 2020 campaign for Spain, giving him his own successful Pursuit of Happyness.

Aymeric Laporte has claimed Didier Deschamps did not reply to his messages before the defender switched international allegiance from France to Spain.

Manchester City centre-back Laporte declared for La Roja last month after being granted Spanish citizenship, leading to him being included in their 24-man Euro 2020 squad.

Laporte represented France at youth level, including the Under-21s, but was never handed a senior cap despite being called up by Deschamps.

The 27-year-old has made a positive start to his Spain career by helping his side to three clean sheets in his first four caps, while also scoring in last week's 5-0 win over Slovakia.

Spain finished second in their Euro 2020 group and are on course to face France in the quarter-finals should the heavyweight nations see off Croatia and Switzerland respectively in the last 16.

Deschamps insisted ahead of the tournament he was only ever contacted once by Laporte to discuss an injury issue, but the player has refuted those suggestions.

"They called me six years ago. But in 2019? No, they didn't call me. While I don't want to go over this again, I had sent a message and didn't get a reply," he told The Guardian.

"I have it here. Maybe [Deschamps] changed number, got a new phone. Could be. I don't know, but I replied to the same number he'd called from before.

"I didn't get a reply then. Anyway, given everything that happened, nor did I think I was important enough to France to have to inform them of anything.

"My importance to them has been more a media issue than anything. I've always been very clear that I'm going to be with those that want me, not those that don't.

"I'm not saying France didn't want me, but I'm grateful to those that bet on me. Spain did and I'm trying to return that faith."

 

Laporte's passing accuracy of 96.64 is the third-highest of any player to have played more than 90 minutes at Euro 2020, behind Axel Witsel (96.91) and Dedryck Boyata (97.74).

The former Athletic Bilbao man's 86.33 successful passes per 90 minutes, meanwhile, has been bettered by just five others, including new team-mate Pau Torres (94.52), reflecting how quickly he has settled in with his adopted national team.

"Everyone has different feelings. I felt comfortable coming with Spain, fully identified," he said. "That's what made me change everything. 

"Also, my family hasn't spent eight years in Spain like me.

"I'd been in contact with Spain for years because they've always wanted me. Luis Enrique called. I took the decision.

"It wasn't easy at all. My family still lives in France and from very young I played there with the national team. 

"There were family chats, discussions, an exchange of opinions, the same doubts there would be if you had dual nationality I imagine."

Spain boss Luis Enrique has described the abuse received by Alvaro Morata as a "crime" and says it should be a matter for the police. 

Morata has been the focus of attention since being jeered by his own fans during a pre-Euro 2020 friendly with Portugal after missing several opportunities.

He was then criticised for his displays in Spain's 0-0 draw with Sweden in their Group E opener and 1-1 draw with Poland, a game in which he scored but missed more chances.

The Juventus striker, whose loan from Atletico Madrid was extended for another season last week, then missed a penalty in Wednesday's 5-0 win against Slovakia, which saw Spain progress from their group in second place.

Morata revealed in an interview that he has received vicious messages on social media during the tournament, while his wife and children have also been targeted in public. 

Luis Enrique has repeatedly leapt to the defence of Morata for his performances and is expected to stick with the 28-year-old for the last-16 tie with Croatia on Monday. 

Speaking at a media conference, the Spain boss said: "The situation is so serious that it must be put in the hands of the police because it is a serious crime. 

"Insulting Morata's relatives is a crime and I hope it is corrected outright."

 

Spain will hope to end a run of falling at the first hurdle in the knockouts of a major tournament when they face Croatia.

After winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, La Roja were eliminated at this stage of both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Despite that, Luis Enrique said his side have no doubts about their ability to get past Croatia. 

"I have had the same confidence since the start of the Championship," he added.

"No team has surprised us. I thought we were going to be first in the group, but football is the result. But in terms of morale and dedication, we are at the max.

"We have not been there since 2012, but against Slovakia we had to win and now we have another final. I don't know if we are going to pass, but my team has no doubts. We are going to try to minimise the threat of the rival."

The match will be Croatia and Spain's third major tournament meeting, with both previous such clashes coming in European Championship group stages. Both sides won once each: Spain in 2012 and Croatia in 2016.

Spain will look to end a run of falling at the first hurdle in the knockouts of a major tournament when they face Croatia in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

A 5-0 thrashing of Slovakia sent La Roja through in second place in Group E after draws with Sweden and Poland had left their chances of progressing in doubt.

Croatia, meanwhile, were 3-1 winners over Scotland on matchday three, ensuring they followed England in escaping Group D to secure a spot in the knockout phase for the fourth time in six European Championship appearances.

They have never progressed beyond the first round after the group stage, while Spain's recent form in the latter rounds of tournaments has also been poor: after winning Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, they were eliminated at this stage of both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Their previous meeting with Croatia ended in a 3-2 defeat in November 2018 in the Nations League, but coach Luis Enrique would do well to be inspired by the match two months earlier when Spain romped to a 6-0 victory. So too would his forwards.

Spain had a higher expected goals total than any other side in the group stage (8.8), but scored only six times. In fact, the players to underperformed the most based on xG over the first three matchdays were Gerard Moreno (zero goals from 2.1 xG) and the much-maligned Alvaro Morata (one goal from 2.9 xG).

Scoring goals is certainly not a worry for Marcos Llorente, who told AS: "In the first two games, we got a bit stuck with in front of goal, but we've already seen we're capable of creating many chances, even for opponents who sit back.

"We did so and we lacked effectiveness in the first two games, and in the last one, we had it. It was a good victory."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Croatia – Ante Rebic

With Ivan Perisic - who scored one and set up another against Scotland - missing after a positive COVID-19 test, there is great pressure on the rest of the Croatia attack to perform.

Rebic is most likely to replace Perisic in the line-up and, while the Milan forward is far from prolific for his country, his work rate at the very least could be key to disrupt Spain's rhythm.

Spain – Sergio Busquets

It would be wrong to claim the return of Busquets was the reason Spain suddenly found their goalscoring groove against Slovakia, but it is certainly true that there was more purpose to their possession play with the Barcelona man in the middle.

Against a midfield of the strength and experience of Croatia's, Busquets could be critical to La Roja's plans when it comes to keeping the ball and warding off counter-attacks.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be Croatia and Spain's third major tournament meeting, with both previous such clashes coming in European Championship group stages. Both sides won once each: Spain in 2012 and Croatia in 2016.
- Spain forced more pressed sequences (sequences where the opposition has three or fewer passes and the sequence ends within 40 metres of their own goal) than any other side during the Euro 2020 group stages (60), while their average of eight passes allowed per defensive action was the lowest by any side in the round.
-All six of Spain's goals in the group stage were scored by different players, including two own goals. Indeed, Spain were the highest scoring side in the round not to see a player score more than once.
- Last time out against Scotland, Luka Modric became the oldest player to score for Croatia at the Euros (35 years and 286 days), while he also holds the record as the youngest goalscorer for his nation in the competition (22 years and 73 days versus Austria in 2008). Should he score in this game (aged 35 years and 292 days), he would become the second-oldest player in European Championship history to score in consecutive appearances in the competition, after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ivan Perisic will miss Croatia's Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Spain after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The Croatian Football Association announced the veteran winger's result on Saturday and said he will spend the next 10 days in self-isolation. 

All other national team members and staff tested negative, they said.

The rest of the team will fly from their base in Pula to Copenhagen on Sunday, with their last-16 match against Spain set for Monday. 

Perisic has scored two of Croatia's four goals at the Euros, with the Inter Milan man providing the equaliser in their 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic and netting the final goal in the 3-1 defeat of Scotland. 

Perisic also provided the winning margin in Croatia's 2-1 victory over Spain at Euro 2016 with a goal in the 87th minute. 

 

The abuse aimed at Alvaro Morata and his family by some Spain supporters crossed the line and is "not acceptable", according to team-mate Dani Olmo.

Morata has been the focus of attention for La Roja since being jeered by his own fans during a pre-Euro 2020 friendly with Portugal after missing several opportunities.

He was then criticised for his displays in Spain's 0-0 draw with Sweden in their Group E opener and 1-1 draw with Poland, a game in which he scored but missed more chances.

The Juventus striker, whose loan from Atletico Madrid was extended for another season last week, then missed a penalty in Wednesday's 5-0 win against Slovakia.

Morata revealed in an interview that he has received vicious messages on social media during the tournament, while his wife and children have also been targeted in public. 

"I would like people to put themselves in my shoes and think what it's like to get threats towards my family, people saying: 'I hope your children die'," he told Cadena Cope.

"I've had to leave my phone outside my room. My wife and children have come to the stadium in Seville with Morata on the back of their shirts and people have been shouting at them. 

"It's complicated. I understand people booing me for missing chances but there's a limit."

Morata has had five big chances at Euro 2020 so far. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (six) has had more, though the Portugal skipper has scored five times.

The former Chelsea striker's four Opta-defined big chances missed is the most of any player in the tournament, followed by Gerard Moreno and seven others on three misses.

 

Spain boss Luis Enrique has repeatedly leapt to the defence of Morata for his performances and is expected to stick with the 28-year-old for the last-16 tie with Croatia.

And team-mate Olmo, who started two of the group games, feels the vitriol Morata has faced has gone too far.

"Myself and all the team are against the threats," he said at a news conference on Saturday previewing Spain's knockout clash with Croatia on Monday.

"It is normal that we are criticised, it is part of our sport, football, and we are exposed to it. We accept it. But going beyond it is not acceptable.

"I think people should put themselves in the skin of the player. We all are human being and we need to respect it. 

"Again, I understand if we are criticised as it is part of our profession, but going beyond it is too much."

After winning Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012, Spain have since been eliminated from both of their last two major tournament knockout-round matches.

Croatia won the most recent of their meetings with Spain 3-2 in November 2018, a year before Olmo earned his first senior cap for La Roja.

Olmo spent his formative years in Dinamo Zagreb's academy and could have represented Croatia, but he instead pledged allegiance to Spain.

"It's true there was an interest from Croatia, but I believe I have always made clear my side," he said. 

"I was thankful for that interest as I have special love for Croatia, but I always said my dream was to be here with Spain. At the end, I got it, and I am where I always wanted to be.

"Croatian people have showed to be very competitive in all sports, not only in football. 

"It is a country not as big as Spain, France or Germany, but they compete even more in every single sport. And they are very patriotic. They give their all for their country."

Asked if head coach Luis Enrique has asked for any inside information on Croatia, Olmo said: "Not yet! I think he knows their team very well.

"I also obviously know them very well and have played with many of them. If he asks me something, I will give him my opinion, as usual.

"I've spoken to a couple of their players already and cannot wait to play the game."

With the group stage of Euro 2020 now over, we can get down to the important business: arguing over who have been the best players until now.

The first three matchdays produced some enthralling spectacles, a handful of shocks and one or two rather forgettable encounters of which there is no need to speak any more.

We have seen some rather obvious star turns, such as a certain Portugal striker equalling the record for international goals in men's football, while other standout performers have flown a little more under the radar.

Here, using Opta data for added insight, Stats Perform presents the Euro 2020 team of the group stage. Please do read on for a few explanations before starting on those angry comments...

 

 

GK: DANNY WARD

Wales battled their way into the knockout rounds after finishing second in Group A, ahead of Switzerland on goal difference. Much of that is down to Danny Ward's form.

The Leicester City man saved 86.7 of the shots on target he faced, the best record among keepers to make at least five saves.

 

LCB: DALEY BLIND

The Netherlands surprised a few people with three convincing wins in Group C, with Daley Blind's calm yet authoritative presence at the heart of their performances.

Blind completed 221 passes in the group stage, more than any other Oranje player, with more than half of those (115) coming in opposition territory.

 

CB: ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN

Quite rightly celebrated for that thunderbolt of a goal in Denmark's key victory over Russia, Andreas Christensen's all-round displays make him worthy of inclusion here.

The Chelsea defender won 79.2 of his duels in the first three rounds, a tally bettered only by Oleksandr Karavaev (80 per cent) and Thomas Vermaelen (90 per cent) among those to contest at least 10.

 

RCB: LEONARDO BONUCCI

Italy's 1.3 expected goals against was the lowest figure of any side in the group phase, underlining the imperious nature of their form not just at these finals but in the whole of their 11-game winning run in which they have not let in a single goal.

Leonardo Bonucci has been the rock at the back, particularly with Giorgio Chiellini battling injury. He has won possession 11 times, the most of any Azzurri defender, and has yet to be beaten by a dribble.

 

LWB: JORDI ALBA

Jordi Alba was Spain's standout performer until the rest of the team somewhat caught up on matchday three as they turned on the style to thrash Slovakia 5-0.

The Barcelona left-back completed 247 passes, the most of any defender after Aymeric Laporte (259), while leading the way for possession won (30 times).

 

CM: GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM

With three goals in three games, Georginio Wijnaldum surpassed the great Marco van Basten on the all-time Netherlands scoring charts to reach 25 for his country.

Enjoying a more advanced role at these finals, Paris Saint-Germain fans are being given a glimpse of what the midfielder could provide for them next season.

 

CM: PIERRE-EMILE HOJBJERG

Alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is one of only two midfielders to create nine goalscoring chances during the group stage.

The Tottenham man set up two Denmark's goals in the 4-1 hammering of Russia to move to three assists at these finals, a tally matched only by Switzerland's Steven Zuber.

 

CM: MANUEL LOCATELLI

His two goals against Switzerland were the highlight of his group-stage displays and made Manuel Locatelli just the third Italy player to score twice in a single European Championship match.

The Sassuolo star was rested against Wales, but the quality of his performances in the first two games prompted rumours that Juventus have redoubled their efforts to sign him.

 

RWB: DENZEL DUMFRIES

Full-back Denzel Dumfries became an unlikely goalscoring hero for Frank de Boer, becoming just the second Netherlands player to score in his first two European Championship games (the first was Ruud van Nistelrooy).

Denmark wing-back Joakim Maehle was the only nominal defender with more touches in the opposition box (20) during the group stage than Dumfries (17).

 

CF: ROMELU LUKAKU

Continuing his spectacular Inter form at these finals, Romelu Lukaku scored three times in Belgium's group games from a total of just four shots on target.

He would probably be the favourite for the Golden Boot were it not for the form of the only man to outscore him in Serie A last season...

 

CF: CRISTIANO RONALDO

With five goals in three games, Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer at the World Cup and European Championship combined (21).

The Portugal captain needs just one more to surpass Ali Daei as the top-scoring international men's footballer of all time.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique believes critics of his side could have nothing to complain about after their 5-0 rout of Slovakia sealed their spot in the Euro 2020 last 16.

Luis Enrique's Spain had been subject to boos from their fans along with media criticism following 0-0 and 1-1 draws with Sweden and Poland respectively in their opening two Euro 2020 games, both in Seville.

A lot of the attention has centred on forward Alvaro Morata, who missed an early penalty against Slovakia, but Luis Enrique's side turned around those woes with an emphatic display, securing the biggest win of Euro 2020 so far.

The victory also equalled the largest margin of victory in a game at the European Championships, Spain becoming the fifth different side to win by five goals in the tournament (after France and Denmark in 1984, the Netherlands in 2000 and Sweden in 2004).

Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres all netted along with two own goals as Spain secured second spot behind Sweden in Group E, setting up a last-16 date with Croatia.

"I believe people can have plenty of complaints, but I really don't think there can be any criticisms of today," Luis Enrique told his post-game news conference.

"We will prepare for the last-16 with plenty of confidence and we're desperate for Monday to come around soon."

He added: "It is a relief. Not just for me, but in terms of what it means with our ability to achieve a convincing result with our style."

The former Barcelona boss added that they would "pop a bottle of Cava" to celebrate their progress but wanted more in the knockout stage, with his lofty expectations unchanged.

"We will go step by step. I've spoken about what I believe we can achieve and the expectations we have as a national team and I haven't changed my opinion," Luis Enrique said.

"We have certainly popped that bottle of Cava, therefore we are delighted, we are pleased the fans and players have had a good time.

"Now it's time for us to get another bottle of Cava and see if we can pop that too."

Spain will take on Croatia in Copenhagen on Monday, with the teams last meeting twice in 2018 via the Nations League.

Croatia won 3-2 in Zagreb, while Spain thrashed the 2018 World Cup finalists 6-0 in Elche in those encounters.

"They are a top team with players we know well, we played in the Nations League two years ago as well," Luis Enrique said.

"It will be a tough match but when you get to last 16 you can't expect easy teams."

The final round of group games at Euro 2020 did not disappoint, producing plenty of drama as the final spots in the last 16 were settled.

There were 18 goals scored across the four fixtures – the most on a single day in the history of the European Championships – with Spain putting five past Slovakia to get out of Group E alongside Sweden, who came out on top against Poland thanks to a late, late winner.

In Group F, Hungary threatened an upset but were twice pegged back by Germany in a 2-2 draw, while Portugal and France ended in the same scoreline thanks to record-breaker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Before the focus switches to the knockout stages, Stats Perform reflects on a dramatic conclusion to the round-robin stage.


Slovakia 0-5 Spain: Landmark win comes with a little help

Spain equalled the largest margin of victory in a game at the European Championship, becoming the fifth different side to win by five goals in the competition. The others? France and Denmark in 1984, the Netherlands in 2000 and Sweden in 2004).

It was also a milestone win, Spain's 50th at a major tournament. They are the fourth European nation to reach a half-century, joining Germany, Italy and France.

They were helped out by a Slovakia side that scored not one but two own goals, Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka the unfortunate duo to take the tally to eight in this year's tournament. The result means head coach Stefan Tarkovic has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since taking charge, with this his 12th game at the helm.

Ferran Torres grabbed the fourth goal of the contest with what was his first touch of the game. He scored just 44 seconds after coming on as a substitute – the quickest goal scored by a replacement at a European Championship since fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Valeron in 2004 (39 seconds versus Russia).

Sweden 3-2 Poland: Lewandowski at the double in defeat

Sweden continued their excellent form against Poland – they have won 10 of the past 12 meetings, including six in a row now – thanks in part to a fast start.

Emil Forsberg broke the deadlock after just 81 seconds, the second quickest goal scored from the start of a European Championship fixture. Dmitri Kirichenko holds the record for the fastest, doing so in a mere 65 seconds for Russia against Greece in 2004.

Poland rallied from 2-0 down to draw level thanks to Robert Lewandowski, who made sure he was on target in consecutive major tournament appearances for the first time in his career. He now has 69 goals for his country – the rest of his nation's squad at Euro 2020 have managed a combined total of 34.

However, the Bayern Munich forward will not be able to add to his tally at Euro 2020, with Poland exiting as their winless run was extended to six games. Viktor Claesson grabbed the winner in added time, meaning Sweden scored three in a game at the Euros for the first time since beating Bulgaria 5-0 in 2004.

 

Portugal 2-2 France: Benzema back on target as Ronaldo hits the spot

There were four goals, three penalties, two different scorers and one record broken in an eventful draw in Budapest.

Ronaldo converted both as Portugal became the first team to score two spot-kicks in a single European Championship fixture. The Juventus superstar's double makes him the first player to score as many as five goals in the group stages of a single Euros since Michel Platini (seven in 1984), who is the only individual to have managed more in a single group round.

Talisman Ronaldo also became the first European player in World Cup and European Championship history to score a combined 20 or more goals across the competitions. His tally sits at 21, while he has 109 in his Portugal career, putting him level with Ali Daei as the leading international men's scorer.

His former Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema also grabbed a brace. His first of the game saw him score for France for the first time since October 8, 2015, five years and 258 days ago. It is the longest gap between goals for Les Bleus since current boss Didier Deschamps went seven years between finding the net.

France are now unbeaten in each of their last 12 group-stage outings at major tournaments, with their reward for topping the table being a last-16 clash with Switzerland.

Germany 2-2 Hungary: Goretzka earns Low a little more time

On a night with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster ride, Germany needed a late equaliser to make sure they progressed from the group stage for a seventh time in eight major international tournaments.

Joachim Low's reign appeared set for an unexpectedly early end when they trailed both 1-0 and 2-1 in Munich, with Adam Szalai's opener seeing Germany become one of only four sides to concede first in all three of their group outings, after Turkey, North Macedonia and Poland.

Kai Havertz equalised, in the process becoming the fourth-youngest player to score in back-to-back major tournament appearances for Germany, after Thomas Muller (2010), Franz Beckenbauer (1966) and Lukas Podolski (2006).

There was a first opportunity at Euro 2020 for teenager Jamal Musiala, who became the youngest player to make an appearance for the German national team at a major tournament, aged 18 years and 117 days.

Sergio Busquets had to wipe away the tears after reflecting on his experience of missing Spain's opening two Euro 2020 matches after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Barcelona midfielder was not part of Spain's squad for their Group E draws with Sweden or Poland after being made to self-isolate.

However, Busquets returned to the starting line-up for Wednesday's 5-0 win against Slovakia as Spain equalled the largest margin of victory in a European Championship game.

Own goals from Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka bookended strikes from Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres in La Roja's emphatic victory in Seville.

Spain are the fifth different side to win by five goals in the competition after France (1984), Denmark (1984), the Netherlands (2000) and Sweden (2004).

And the record-equalling win for Spain was a particularly emotional occasion for Busquets, who was named the official man of the match for his impressive midfield display.

"I'm excited to be here," he said through tears in his post-match interview. "I had a pretty bad time at home for 10 days not knowing if I would return or not.

"This result was what we needed. The fans were behind us and we played well from the beginning. We were so much stronger today and got the luck we didn't previously have.

"I accept the criticism we have faced, but not the lack of respect and more from people who have also been here."

Busquets won all three of his aerial duels against Slovakia, gained possession five times and played a joint-high two key passes.

He was taken off with around 20 minutes to play, but the midfielder put that down as a precautionary measure.

"I feel very well," he added. "Just before I was taken off I felt my calf a bit and the coach did not want to risk it.

"Hopefully now I can continue to accumulate minutes. Today is another step for me and now I'm prepared for anything that comes."

Spain needed a victory to guarantee a place in the last 16, where Croatia now await in Copenhagen next Monday, after being held by Sweden and Poland.

The victory for La Roja was their landmark 50th at major tournaments, making them the fourth European side to reach that milestone after Germany, Italy and France.

Sarabia, who scored the third of Spain's goals and assisted Torres' flicked finish, hopes his side can use the victory to build confidence in the knockout stages.

"We needed this to restore people's enthusiasm," he said. "The team played 20 very good minutes, with brutal intensity. We deserved the victory.

"We know the Croatia game will be difficult, but we also know the potential of this team."

Spain profited from Martin Dubravka's goalkeeping howler and then turned on the style to thrash Slovakia 5-0 and book their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Luis Enrique's men required a win in Wednesday's clash to guarantee a last-16 spot after drawing their first two games and were given a huge helping hand by Dubravka.

The Slovakia keeper saved an Alvaro Morata penalty early on – the fifth in a row Spain have missed – before comically flapping the ball into his own net with half an hour played.

That put Spain on their way to an emphatic win, the first time they have ever scored five times in a European Championship match, after Aymeric Laporte's first international goal and strikes from Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres before Juraj Kucka's own goal.

Spain were awarded a penalty inside the first 12 minutes after VAR intervened and adjudged Jakub Hromada fouled Koke when attempting to clear the ball.

Dubravka dived to his right and got two hands to the powerful attempt but, after chances went begging for Sarabia and Pedri, the keeper went from hero to zero.

Sarabia's long-range shot looped into the air after striking the crossbar and Dubravka, under a bit of pressure from Morata, inexplicably pushed the ball into his own net.

Dubravka could have done better for Spain's second goal, too, as Gerard Moreno beat the marauding keeper to a ball and crossed for Laporte to head into the top-right corner.

Spain were in complete control of the game when Sarabia swept home Jordi Alba's pass into the bottom-right corner with 56 minutes on the clock.

Slovakia still had a chance of advancing as one of the best third-placed sides, but substitute Torres flicked Sarabia's cross past Dubravka just 44 seconds after entering the pitch and Kucka knocked the ball into his own net soon after for Spain's fifth.

Luis Enrique accepted criticism ahead of Spain's decisive Group E clash with Slovakia, where another draw may not be enough.

Spain have drawn with Sweden and Poland so far at Euro 2020 and could follow Portugal in 2016 as the second ever team to be held in all three matches in a European Championship group stage.

Portugal went on to win that tournament, but Spain would not even be assured of third place in their pool and a place in the next round if results went against them elsewhere.

Worryingly for Luis Enrique, whose side missed a host of chances in their first two matches, a point apiece appears the most likely result.

Spain have drawn each of their past four major tournament matches – one shy of a record for European sides.

And a point would suit Slovakia, ensuring they advance for the third time in three major tournament appearances, after the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2016.

Spain coach Luis Enrique described himself as "preoccupied with us meriting better results but not getting them".

"We've created enough chances to win both games," he added, yet the under-fire boss recognised he could not complain about scrutiny.

"We coaches fully understand the fact that we live by results, and what not meeting your objectives means," Luis Enrique said.

"I'm hoping that by the end of Wednesday we're not only in the knockouts but as group winners. Right now I'll accept the criticism."
 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Slovakia – Martin Dubravka

Goalkeeper Dubravka conceded the costly penalty when Slovakia lost their second match to Sweden, having earlier made a stunning save. That was one of just five stops so far at the tournament, though, while he has picked the ball out of his net twice. Spain may be wasteful, but that save rate may need to improve.

Spain – Gerard Moreno

Moreno will certainly hope to keen Dubravka busy – if he gets the opportunity. The forward missed a penalty against Poland (Spain's fifth miss from their past eight attempts at the Euros) and Luis Enrique hinted at potentially looking for a solution in attack. Moreno has been involved in more goals (nine) for Spain since his debut than any other player.
 

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Slovakia have won only one of their six meetings with Spain (D1 L4), a home victory in a European Championship qualifier back in October 2014 (2-1). This is their first encounter at a major tournament.
– Spain have won all three of their previous matches on home soil against Slovakia, scoring 11 goals and conceding two.
– Slovakia are unbeaten in their final group-stage game at both of their previous two major tournaments, winning 3-2 against Italy at the 2010 World Cup and drawing 0-0 with England at Euro 2016. They have progressed from the group stages at both previous tournaments.
– Including one as caretaker manager in 2018, Stefan Tarkovic has only lost two of his 11 matches in charge of Slovakia in all competitions (W4 D5 L2), with one of those defeats coming last time out against Sweden; Slovakia are yet to lose back-to-back games under him.
– Spain have drawn their last four major tournament matches (World Cup and Euros); among European nations, only Italy (five from 1980 to 1982) have ever had a longer run of successive such draws.

A host of European football's heavyweights were in action on another day of high drama at Euro 2020 on Saturday.

The stand-out result was Germany's thumping 4-2 win over holders Portugal at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which featured yet another landmark strike from Cristiano Ronaldo. 

In the same group, tournament favourites France were held to a surprise draw by Hungary, while, in Group E, Spain's stuttering start continued with a 1-1 draw against Poland.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at some of the best facts from across the day's action.

Portugal 2-4 Germany: Holders give Die Mannschaft a helping hand

Portugal made some unwanted history as they slipped to a resounding defeat against Germany at the Allianz Arena.

It had started so well for Fernando Santos' men, Ronaldo putting the holders ahead early on with a strike that took him level with Miroslav Klose as the European player to have scored the most combined goals (19) across the World Cup and European Championship. 

However, Portugal became the first European nation ever to concede two own goals – through Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro – in a single match at a major tournament to give Germany a half-time lead. 

Kai Havertz added a third to become Germany's youngest goalscorer in a European Championship game, aged 22 years and eight days, before Robin Gosens got in on the act. 

That meant Portugal, who pulled one back through Diogo Jota, became the first reigning champions in European Championship history to concede four goals in a single match in the competition.

Hungary 1-1 France: Fiola finds a way through stubborn defence

Few gave Hungary a chance of getting anything from their clash with the world champions, but Marco Rossi's side claimed a memorable point.

Attila Fiola opened the scoring shortly before half-time, ending a run of 527 minutes of play for France without shipping a goal.

Fiola has now scored two goals in his last four appearances for Hungary after failing to find the back of the net in his first 33 games for his country. 

Aged 31 years and 122 days, right-back Fiola is the oldest player to score against France in a European Championship match since Rui Jordao scored a brace against them for Portugal in 1984 (31y 319d).

However, France stretched their unbeaten run at major tournaments to nine matches when Antoine Griezmann levelled midway through the second half. 

The Barcelona forward has now scored 11 goals at major international tournaments, with only Michel Platini (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Thierry Henry (12) having scored more. 

France could have sealed victory had Kylian Mbappe shown more accuracy in front of goal. The Paris Saint-Germain forward attempted six shots – the most he has ever had in a single match for his country. 

Spain 1-1 Poland: La Roja's sluggish start continues

This draw meant Spain have failed to win either of their first two games in a European Championship tournament for the first time since 1996. 

It had started so well for them, however, with Alvaro Morata firing home from close range in the 25th minute. The on-loan Juventus striker has scored four of Spain's last five goals at European Championship finals – only Fernando Torres (five) has ever scored more goals in the competition for the nation.

Poland pulled level shortly after half-time, though, Robert Lewandowski becoming only the third player to score in three major tournaments for Poland, after Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach.

Spain did have the opportunity to claim all three points, but Gerard Moreno struck the post from the penalty spot, meaning they have failed to score five of their last eight penalties (excluding shootouts) at the tournament.

There was also a landmark moment for Poland's Kacper Kozlowski (17 years and 246 days), who became the youngest ever player to make an appearance at the European Championship, overtaking Jude Bellingham's record (17y 349d) set for England six days ago.

Jordi Alba felt Spain deserved to beat Poland and remains confident they will qualify for the round of 16 after a 1-1 Euro 2020 draw at La Cartuja Stadium.

Alvaro Morata put La Roja in front from close range in the first half to end a run of four international games without a goal, silencing his critics after he was whistled off during the goalless draw with Sweden.

Spain were unable to secure their first win of the tournament, though, as Robert Lewandowski's second-half header kept Poland's qualification hopes alive.

Gerard Moreno struck the post with a penalty just after Lewandowski levelled and Morata wasted a great chance to spare his blushes when he put the rebound wide.

Spain are third heading into a must-win final Group E clash with Slovakia at the same venue on Wednesday and stand-in captain Alba says they will get the job done, despite an unconvincing start to the tournament.

"I believe we will turn this around, get some wins and we are doing a good job of things at the moment," said the Barcelona left-back.

"I think there is no doubting our intensity, I really think in terms of intensity and determination, you can't question that.

"Of course there are plenty of things to improve, that's the same for all teams but I think the coaching staff and players are doing a fantastic job. We are very ambitious, of course we are annoyed with the result but if we continue working hard I'm sure the results will come.

"On Wednesday, we have another final and we'll continue trying all we have to win and get through to the next round."

Alba said Spain were not surprised by Poland's performance, particularly with the lethal Lewandowski leading the line.

He added: "They are quality players, who play with a great deal of intensity. Lewandowski is the best striker in the world.

"We knew the potential they had. We had chances but they had two great chances and scored one goal. They are a good national team, but I thought we deserved to get the win."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.