Euro 2024: Even Spain “B” is too much for Albania. Iberians at 9


By John

13′ pt Ferran Torres.
ALBANIA (4-2-3-1): Strakosha 6.5; Balliu 5.5, Ajeti 6, Djimsiti 6, Mitaj 5.5; Ramadan 5.5, Asllani 6; Asani 5 (36’st Muci sv), Laci 5 (25’st M.Berisha 6), Bajrami 5 (25’st A.Hoxha 6); Manaj 5 (14’st Broja 6). On the bench: Kastrati, Hysaj, Ismajli, Aliji, Mihaj, Kumbulla, Berisha, Gjasula, Abrashi, Seferi. Coach: Sylvinho 6.
SPAIN (4-2-3-1): Raya 7; Navas 6, Vivian 6.5, Laporte 6.5 (1’st Le Normand 6.5), Grimaldo 6; Merino 7, Zubimendi 7; Ferran Torres 7 (27’st Yamal 6), Dani Olmo 7 (39’st Baena sv), Oyarzabal 6 (17’st Fermìn Lopez 6); Joselu 6 (27’st Morata 6). On the bench: Remiro, Unai Simon, Carvajal, Cucurella, Fabian Ruiz, Pedri, Nico Williams, Ayoze. Coach: De La Fuente 7.
REFEREE: Nyberg (Sweden) 7.
NOTE: Spectators 40,586. Yellow cards: Sylvinho (coach), Bajrami, M.Berisha, Vivian. Corners: 6-2 for Spain. Injury time: 2′ pt, 4′ ss.

All as expected in Dusseldorf. In the other match scheduled for today in Group B, that of Italy, Spain easily beats Albania: De La Fuente’s men only need 13 minutes to get things done thanks to a goal from Torres following a splendid assist from Dani Olmo . Yet the Roja coach lets the starting line-up rest, changing ten players compared to the eleven who faced and beat the Azzurri. The Albanians thus leave the European Championships after having played a decent group. The defeat of Silvinho’s team, due to calculations on the best third parties in the groups, gives France the certainty of qualification. As might be expected, Spain changes everything at the start: the only one confirmed is Laporte in defence. There is therefore room for Dani Vivian in the center with Navas and Grimaldo on the flanks. Raya in goal while the attack is entrusted to Joselu supported by Torres, Olmo and Oyarzabal. In the median Merino and Zubimendi. Albania confirms the 11 of the last match with only Balliu, right back, in place of Hysaj. In attack, trust in Manaj ahead of Asani, Laci and Bajrami. Albania starts very strong to surprise La Roja. But it doesn’t last long. De La Fuente’s team immediately takes control of the midfield. In the 12th minute Merino with a header forces Strakosha into a save to prevent the goal. These are general rehearsals. In the 13th minute Torres receives Dani Olmo in the area, controls and passes Strakosha on the right to make it 1-0. The reaction of the Albanians does not arrive.

Spain is still pushing. Dani Olmo stands out several times. The “eagles of Tirana” rely on a few throw-in sorties. At the half hour mark Bajrami tries to shake up his teammates: he beats two opponents but the Roja defense closes him down at the moment of the shot. De La Fuente’s team puts the game to sleep with their phrasing and then attacks but the Albanians keep good guard. At the end Silvinho’s eleven with a shot from outside by Asllani commits Raya. In the second half De La Fuente sends Le Normand onto the field for Laporte. Albania pushes and Spain plays a throw-in. At 3′ of the second half Joselu almost doubled the lead. The “eagles” look for possession of the ball. In the 15th minute Silvinho recalls Manaj, Broja in his place. And the new substitute comes close to equalizing from the edge with Raya who saves with a dive. More changes: Hoxha and Berisha for Bajrami and Laci. De La Fuente responds by sending Morata and Yamal onto the field for Joselu and Ferran Torres. The Atletico Madrid striker becomes dangerous with his head. Last substitution for Silvinho who goes for broke: Muci comes on for Asani resting Dani Olmo: in his place Baena closes the most delicious opportunity for Albania: Broja again who challenges Raya well to block a treacherous shot.