Martin Dubravka went from hero to zero while Pablo Sarabia was in his elements as Spain cruised to a 5-0 win over Slovakia at Estadio de la Cartuja on Wednesday.
The first half was all Spain, who created pretty much all the attacking moves, showing a lot more urgency and desire than they had in their opening two games. Luis Enrique’s men got an early look-in when Koke earned a penalty in the 10th minute, only for Alvaro Morata to miss the resulting spot-kick.
Spain kept probing thereafter and it was hardly a surprise when they went ahead at the half-hour mark, although they needed a stroke of good luck, as Pablo Sarabia was first gifted the ball by Lubomir Satka before his shot struck the woodwork. From the rebound, Martin Dubravka bizarrely parried the ball into the net. And, at the stroke of half-time, Spain went two ahead through Aymeric Laporte.
Post the interval, Slovakia showed more desire to engineer the openings but instead, it was Spain who scored for a third time with a beautifully worked goal, with Sarabia turning in a low cross from Jordi Alba in the 56th minute. Midway through the second period, Spain were four to the good, as Ferran Torres scored mere seconds after coming on, turning in a cut-back by Sarabia.
The fifth then came courtesy another Torres, again moments after being introduced, as Pau Torres nodded the ball goalwards before Juraj Kucka inadvertently scored an own goal. Spain continued to push for sixth, but it ended 5-0 in their favour in the end. However, with Sweden beating Poland 3-2, the win was not enough for Spain to top Group E. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
Martin Dubravka: 5/10
A game of hits and misses for Dubravka, who first turned hero by producing a brilliant save to deny Alvaro Morata from the spot before scoring an inexplicable own goal by palming the ball into the net. Could not have done anything to deny Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia or Ferran Torres, while the own goal scored by Juraj Kucka was simply unfortunate for him.
Martin Dúbravka is the first goalkeeper in European Championship/World Cup history to save a penalty and score an own goal in the same match.
Making history for the wrong reasons. ? pic.twitter.com/J8NGmizeSO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 23, 2021
Peter Pekarik: 5/10
A horror show of a game for Pekarik, who had his fair share of troubles keeping a check on Gerard Moreno, and lost most of the duels he contested. To make matters worse, his output on the ball was poor as he lost possession 11 times while retaining a pass completion rate of 74 percent.
Lubomir Satka: 4/10
A dreadful evening for Satka, who played his part in the defeat, serving the ball on a platter for Pablo Sarabia before Dubravka scored the own goal. Then failed to keep Laporte at bay for the second Spain goal. Did make as many as seven clearances but the damage was already done with some of his other actions.
Milan Skriniar: 6/10
The only Slovakian defender who can hold his head up high. Skriniar did well to ensure Alvaro Morata did not cause his side much trouble. Imperious in the air, he won as many as five aerial duels while also making six clearances. Alas, it was not nearly enough to keep a rampant Spain at bay.
Tomas Hubocan: 5/10
A miserable game for Hubocan, who just could not manage to get to grips with the pace of the game as Spain ran riot on his side. Did make a number of tackles while also playing a joint-game-high 2 key passes, but it was his effort to keep Pablo Sarabia in check where he failed quite badly. Has to do better than this performance.
Juraj Kucka: 4/10
Tasked with keeping a lid on Spain’s creative output, Kucka was overpowered and overrun in the middle of the park with ease, with Pedri running rings around him. A passing rate of 74 percent hardly helped matters while he also ended the game with the most unfortunate of own goals. Just not his day.
Jakub Hromada: 5/10
A difficult outing for Hromada, who was constantly behind the ball as Spain pushed relentlessly forward in search of goals. Overrun in the middle of the park constantly and it was he who gave the penalty away before it was saved by Dubravka.
Lukas Haraslin: 5/10
An evening that Haraslin would like to forget quickly as he managed to attempt just 13 passes all game, completing only nine of those. Mustered up just the one shot all game, which was off target as well. In the end, he was just not the player to turn things around for Slovakia.
Marek Hamsik: 5/10
Speaking of potential game-changers for Slovakia and captain Marek Hamsik just could not raise his hand up and make things happen. While the Slovakia skipper did see a lot of the ball and had a respectable pass completion rate of 83 percent, there was hardly any creativity on offer. Has to do better.
Robert Mak: 4/10
A peripheral figure for Slovakia, Mak managed just 19 touches on the ball while completing a mere 10 passes and not even mustering a shot on goal. Did play one key pass but that was as good as it got for him all game.
Ondrej Duda: 4/10
A frustrating evening for Duda, who was left isolated for much of the first half due to the sheer dominance shown by Spain. Managed just 15 touches in the opening period while completing just four of the nine passes he attempted. Will be eager to move on from such an outing quickly.
Michal Duris: 5/10
On for Duda at half-time, Duris made no impact whatsoever, although in what was a minor positive, he did complete each of his 12 attempted passes.
Stanislav Lobotka: 4/10
Sent on in place of Hromada at the break, Lobotka continued from where the incumbent had left off as he just could not manage to deny Spain and end their merry ways. Misplaced just two passes in his stay on the pitch, though.
Vladimir Weiss: 5/10
On for Mak, Weiss could not manage to get into the game either, just like the player he replaced, getting just 15 touches on the ball.
Tomas Suslov: 5/10
On for Haraslin, Suslov did complete each of his six attempted passes, but hardly looked like he was going to do anything meaningful.
Laszlo Benes: N/A
A late introduction, Benes was barely on the pitch before the full-time whistle blew.
Unai Simon: 6/10
Easy as you like for Simon, who had the best seat in the house to enjoy the big win. The Spain goalkeeper barely broke a sweat, with Slovakia not even forcing one save out of him.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7/10
Favoured ahead of Marcos Llorente in the right-back slot, Azpilicueta vindicated Luis Enrique’s decision by producing a superb performance from the right flank, even creating one fine chance for Koke. Typically solid off the ball, Azpilicueta kept a check on Robert Mak and got through the game without ever being troubled.
Eric Garcia: 6/10
Starting ahead of Pau Torres at the heart of Spain’s defence, it was a pretty straightforward outing for Garcia, who was hardly made to sweat by Slovakia. Veered upfield quite a bit while retaining an impressive pass completion rate of 96 percent. Might be in the starting lineup in the Round of 16 as well.
Aymeric Laporte: 7/10
May 24: Named to Spain’s #EURO2020 squad after switching from France to Spain
June 4: Makes Spain debut
June 23: Scores first Spain goal pic.twitter.com/YZD5BDh7kQ
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 23, 2021
A game to remember for Laporte, who was not put under a great deal of pressure by the Slovakian attack, but popped up on the other end to double Spain’s lead at the stroke of half-time. On the defensive front, Laporte made one block and an interception as well, in an otherwise quiet game. Misplaced just one of 89 attempted passes, remarkably.
Jordi Alba: 7/10
The resident left-back for Spain was typically astute in his performance, showing some neat touches while keeping a check on Lukas Haraslin. Continued pushing forward all game long and created the goal for Pablo Sarabia with an inch-perfect low cross. Such an asset.
An eventful evening for Koke, who was engaged in an engrossing duel with Juraj Kucka all game long. Earned the early penalty that Alvaro Morata failed to convert and came close to scoring once himself. Completed 92 percent of his attempted passes while bringing the aggressive element in the defensive phases, with five duels won.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Making his first start at UEFA Euro 2020, Busquets was a solid customer in the middle of the park, playing a key role in ensuring Slovakia never found their way into the game. Even played a joint-game-high 2 key passes in what was a solid warm-up ahead of the Round of 16 clash next up.
A much-improved showing by Pedri, who showed a lot of desire to make things happen and played one of the best passes in the game, only for Pablo Sarabia to miss the chance by whiskers. Showed some fine link-up with Alba on his side and unsurprisingly so. One such link-up created the third goal for Spain, as he released Alba before the ball was laid for Sarabia.
Pablo Sarabia: 9/10
Pablo Sarabia’s game by numbers vs. Slovakia:
85% pass accuracy
78 touches, 7 in the box
4 shots [2 on target]
1 big chance created
A statement performance. ?? pic.twitter.com/Gqbg5lauUs
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) June 23, 2021
Stationed on the right side of Spain’s attack, Sarabia produced a solid performance. Came within inches of meeting a fine pass by Pedri before playing his part in the opener, with his shot smashing the crossbar before Dubravka turned the ball into his own net. Sarabia then got his own moment under the sun, scoring from close range to effectively put the game to bed early in the second half, while also creating the goal for Ferran Torres.
Alvaro Morata: 5/10
It is inexplicable as to why Luis Enrique keeps persisting with Alvaro Morata. The questions only grew after Wednesday, with the Spain striker having his penalty saved by Dubravka. Carried the least threat among all the Spain attackers. Did aim a few shots at goal, but none that really troubled Dubravka.
Gerard Moreno: 7/10
A bundle of energy in the final third, Gerard Moreno put in the hard yards to help his teammates, playing a couple of key passes. One of the chances yielded Spain their second goal, as it was his cross that was turned in by Laporte at the stroke of half-time.
Ferran Torres: 7/10
On for Morata, Torres scored moments after being introduced with a peach of a finish with a back-heel flick from Sarabia’s low cross. Continued posing a threat from his flank while also completing each of his attempted passes.
44 – Scoring with his first touch 44 seconds after coming on, Ferran Torres' goal is the fastest by a substitute in a European Championship match since Juan Carlos Valerón netted 39 seconds after coming on against Russia in 2004, also for Spain. Entrance. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/IrqXF66BKW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 23, 2021
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
On for Busquets, Thiago continued pretty much from where the Spain captain left off, providing a solid base in midfield that meant Slovakia did not get a sight on goal in the final 20 minutes or so.
Pau Torres: 7/10
Like Ferran Torres a few minutes before him, Pau Torres was involved mere seconds after coming on, although he could not get the goal, with Kucka instead turning the ball into his own net for the fifth Spain goal.
Adama Traore: N/A
On for Gerard Moreno, Traore did not get many opportunities to showcase his best abilities, but there were a couple of dangerous runs that sent Slovakia back-pedalling.
Mikel Oyarzabal: N/A
On for Azpilicueta, Oyarzabal managed one shot late on, albeit missing the target.