Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta hinted at big things for Spain after ‘breaking the ice’ at Euro 2020, while Ian Wright hailed a Spanish pair for rebounding after early struggles.
Spain became the first team to score five goals in consecutive matches at the European Championships during their epic encounter with Croatia. They were almost all needed after a two-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining in normal time was eradicated by a spirited Croatian fightback.
However, that appeared to be all they could muster as Spain went on to overwhelm them 5-3 in extra time.
“It’s been a few tournaments since we went through a knockout match. But today we ‘broke the ice’ against the World Cup runners-up.
“It wasn’t great to be scored against twice late in normal time, but we were the better team in extra time and we deserve to go through.”
Spanish captain Sergio Busquets added: “We had chances to finish the game off quite early on but we showed character throughout. When Croatia changed their system, they flooded the pitch high up and we didn’t adjust quickly enough.
“Unai Simon knows he’s got our total confidence. The goal was bad luck but his mentality is very laidback while remaining ambitious, and he showed that today. He was ultra-secure after the goal and made some top saves.”
Morata achieved redemption – Wright
Speaking in his role as a pundit for ITV, Arsenal legend Ian Wright said: “Spain are great to watch. And considering that everyone is going into the tournament talking about the chances they are missing, you just have to think about what they will do once they start taking their chances.
“It was a fantastic goal by Morata. It was one of those kind of goals you feel a bit of redemption for him. Wasn’t an easy take. It was a fantastic ball over to him. Brilliant touch and a super finish from him. It is a lot harder than the chance he missed.
“It was at a time when they really needed that, if he misses that, you really would start to feel for him but it was a great, great finish.
“The goalkeeper [Unai Simon] deserves a lot of credit, he showed a lot of mental strength in this game.”