UEFA Euro 2020 Group E Matchday 1 report: Spain 0 - 0 Sweden
Pedri became Spain's youngest ever EURO appearance-maker as Luis Enrique's new-look Spain were held by Sweden on home soil.
Match in brief
In a one-sided first half, Sweden were forced to graft from the start as a relentless Spain patiently probed for a chink in their armour.
Dani Olmo produced the Blågult's first real test, his glanced effort from a precise Koke cross requiring a superb reaction save from Robin Olsen. Koke himself then twice went close to his first international goal, spearing off target on both occasions, before Álvaro Morata dragged wide the best chance of the opening half.
Despite Spain's dominance, there were intermittent threats at the other end, particularly when Marcos Llorente diverted an Alexander Isak shot onto a post and into goalkeeper Unai Simón's arms. The quick-footed Isak then found Marcus Berg in the second half, but the veteran striker could only scoop frustratingly over, much to Spain's relief.
As Luis Enrique introduced attacking reinforcements seeking a spark, Janne Andersson's tired troops clung on to avoid any late drama and share the spoils.
Star of the Match: Victor Lindelöf (Sweden)
"He organised his defence perfectly and brought calm to proceedings. He was excellent in the air and shut out the Spanish forwards. A great performance."
Ginés Meléndez, UEFA Technical Observer
Graham Hunter, Spain reporter
It was supposed to be Seville, and its temperatures, which made us sweat. But that became Spain's job here. From the start they were admirable: passing, creating chances, confident – a sense of being in form at the right moment. But they misfired throughout. In fact, worryingly, they replicated the goalmouth mishaps which blighted their 0-0 warm-up draw against Portugal. Dull? No chance. They made Robin Olsen really earn his corn, and they entertained. But winning is the thing, Spain. More goals, more quickly, please.
Sujay Dutt, Sweden reporter
The 90 minutes of football in Seville, from a yellow and blue perspective, felt more like 190. Spain, as expected, dominated the ball for most of the match, but created no more than a handful of clear chances – all of which Olsen in Sweden's goal kept out. Sweden came to Spain intent on staying compact in defence, keeping the ball when gaining possession and trying to get in a few punches of their own by quickly turning defence into attack. They rarely held possession but managed on every other count.
Janne Andersson, Sweden coach: "We created some chances and they created some, so all in all I'm not disappointed in this point. If we're to take points or win against this kind of a team, we have to play like this. The dedication that the players demonstrated in implementing our game plan was fantastic."
Alexander Isak, Sweden forward: "We would have wanted a little more possession to have been able to create a little more. But you need to accept the state of things. We did that really well today. We fought until the last minute. Beforehand, we would have been happy with one point. We're really satisfied with the result."
Robin Olsen, Sweden goalkeeper: "The way the boys kept running in this heat, I wasn't alone in securing this point. It was an incredible team effort. It's not the best match we've played and not our most deserved point, but we battled, we really battled. Watching from behind, how hard the boys ran, makes me proud."
Luis Enrique, Spain coach: "We faced a team who decided to defend and base all their hopes on a long ball forward. Even so, they had the chance to win. A draw like this feels bad and I'm sorry for the players and the fans because this was a night to win. Our preoccupation is to create goal chances and we did that but we didn't tuck them away."
Dani Olmo, Spain forward: "We deserved a lot more. But the answer is just to keep working. We have to keep playing like that and accept that if you don't score you don't win, no matter how well you play. I hope the fans get behind us now."
- Pedri has become the youngest ever player to represent Spain at a EURO finals tournament (18 years, 201 days).
- Spain have lost only one of their ten opening group matches at a EURO final tournament – that sole defeat was against Norway at EURO 2000.
- Spain have lost only one of their last 25 international matches (W15 D9 L1).
- Sweden have not scored in their last three EURO final tournament matches.
- Spain's last 0-0 draw in the group stage was in 1980 vs Italy. That was actually their first ever group stage match – they had played in the tournament previously but only in knockout games.
- Sweden have conceded just one goal in their six international matches in 2021.
Spain: Unai Simón; Marcos Llorente, Laporte, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba; Koke (Fabián Ruiz 87), Rodri (Thiago Alcántara 66), Pedri; Ferran Torres (Oyarzabal 74), Morata (Sarabia 66), Olmo (Gerard Moreno 74)
Sweden: Olsen; Lustig (Krafth 75), Lindelöf, Danielson, Augustinsson; S. Larsson, Olsson (Cajuste 84), Ekdal, Forsberg (Bengtsson 84); Berg (Quaison 69), Isak (Claesson 69)