As usual, Luis Enrique decided to start the game with a very revised eleven (with no less than seven changes compared to the last game against Switzerland). Despite the challenge, with the last place for the Final Four next June in sight, the first half did not give many chills for both parties. Spain turned the ball without being able to bring the danger to the opposite zone of truth. Portugal, on the other hand, couldn’t get their foot on the ball long enough to build and secure a hot situation until midway through the first half. Sure enough, the Portuguese left the ball completely to an idealistic Red and then tried to surprise her with quick attacks.
The first scare was also for the Spaniards, if we don’t count João Cancelo’s loss of the ball at the start of the game that led to a shot by Pablo Sarabia that Danilo Pereira (8th) blocked. The first real opportunity went to the credit of Rubén Neves. After a badly returned corner, the Portuguese midfielder shot with the right and forced Unai Simon to make a save to avoid the initial goal (23rd). After half an hour of play, Diogo Jota also put the Spanish goalkeeper (33rd) to work. For his part, Bruno Fernandes was about to unclog the situation but his shot from 25 meters passed a few centimeters from the left corner of a thrashed Unai Simon (38th).
An exciting second part
Although the Seleção could settle for a draw to reach the Final Four, it was the Portuguese who returned with the best of intentions after the break. Launched behind the Spanish defense, Cristiano Ronaldo focused his low shot to the ground but ran into the Iberian goalkeeper, author of a very good start (47th). The coaches of the two teams then decided to turn things around by making several changes and the face of the match was turned upside down. At the start of the last quarter of an hour, La Roja was finally more dangerous and began to put pressure on the goals guarded by Diogo Costa, the Portuguese goalkeeper.
Located on the axis, Álvaro Morata first rolled his ball perfectly and forced the Seleção goalkeeper to make a good save (77th). A few minutes from the end, the striker from La Roja finally managed to confirm the slight dominance of the Spaniards for ten minutes. Forgotten at 6 meters, the 7 was able to shoot Diogo Costa with a shot that ended under the crossbar (88th, 1-0). In the aftermath, the Portuguese captain managed to finish off in the opposite area but Unai Simón, once again, saved his team thanks to a save at the near post (90º). With this victory acquired in the last few moments, Spain once again faces their rival from the afternoon and qualifies for the Final Four that will take place in the Netherlands next June!
Update on the other topics of the night.
To see the other main themes of this closing night of the League of Nations, you had to go to Scotland and Norway. Two duels for promotion to League A between Norwegians and Serbs on the one hand and between Scots and Ukrainians on the other. In the first match, the Serbs took advantage of their attacking duo to beat Erling Braut Haaland’s teammates (2-0) and climb to the next level. In the second, the Scots contented themselves with a goalless draw against Oleksandar Petrakov’s players (0-0) to sneak into League A.
Another issue and no less important: Sweden and Slovenia, fought to stay in League B. In this small game, it was the Swedes who could not avoid relegation to the lower categories after a draw (1-1). Note also Benjamin Sesko’s superb goal for the Slovenians. Finally, the fight in League C, to avoid the play-off place, between Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Cyprus turned in favor of the former who literally blew up the Cypriots (4-0). With this result, the latter will find the prey.
The full results of the night.
League A – Group 2
Portugal 0-1 Spain : Morata (88th)
Swiss 2-1 Czech Republic: Freuler (29th), Embolo (30th) / Schick (45th)
League B – Group 1
Ukraine 0-0 Scotland:
Ireland 3-2 Armenia: Egan (18th), Obafemi (52nd), Brady (p 90+1) / Dashyan (71st), Spertsyan (73rd)
League B – Group 2
Albanian 1-0 Iceland: Lenjani (35th)
League B – Group 4
Norway 0-2 Serbian : Vlahovic (42nd), Mitrovic (54th)
Sweden 1-1 Slovenia: Forsberg (42nd) / Sesko (28th)
League C – Group 2
Greece 3-1 Northern Ireland: Pelkas (14th), Masouras (55th), Mantalos (80th) / Lavery (18th)
Kosovo 5-1 Cyprus: Muslija (22nd), Rrudhani (45th+1), Rashani (46th), Muriqi (52nd, 84th) / Roberge (81st)
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