Spain head coach Luis Enrique believes critics of his side could have nothing to complain about after their 5-0 rout of Slovakia sealed their spot in the Euro 2020 last 16.

Luis Enrique's Spain had been subject to boos from their fans along with media criticism following 0-0 and 1-1 draws with Sweden and Poland respectively in their opening two Euro 2020 games, both in Seville.

A lot of the attention has centred on forward Alvaro Morata, who missed an early penalty against Slovakia, but Luis Enrique's side turned around those woes with an emphatic display, securing the biggest win of Euro 2020 so far.

The victory also equalled the largest margin of victory in a game at the European Championships, Spain becoming the fifth different side to win by five goals in the tournament (after France and Denmark in 1984, the Netherlands in 2000 and Sweden in 2004).

Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres all netted along with two own goals as Spain secured second spot behind Sweden in Group E, setting up a last-16 date with Croatia.

"I believe people can have plenty of complaints, but I really don't think there can be any criticisms of today," Luis Enrique told his post-game news conference.

"We will prepare for the last-16 with plenty of confidence and we're desperate for Monday to come around soon."

He added: "It is a relief. Not just for me, but in terms of what it means with our ability to achieve a convincing result with our style."

The former Barcelona boss added that they would "pop a bottle of Cava" to celebrate their progress but wanted more in the knockout stage, with his lofty expectations unchanged.

"We will go step by step. I've spoken about what I believe we can achieve and the expectations we have as a national team and I haven't changed my opinion," Luis Enrique said.

"We have certainly popped that bottle of Cava, therefore we are delighted, we are pleased the fans and players have had a good time.

"Now it's time for us to get another bottle of Cava and see if we can pop that too."

Spain will take on Croatia in Copenhagen on Monday, with the teams last meeting twice in 2018 via the Nations League.

Croatia won 3-2 in Zagreb, while Spain thrashed the 2018 World Cup finalists 6-0 in Elche in those encounters.

"They are a top team with players we know well, we played in the Nations League two years ago as well," Luis Enrique said.

"It will be a tough match but when you get to last 16 you can't expect easy teams."

The final round of group games at Euro 2020 did not disappoint, producing plenty of drama as the final spots in the last 16 were settled.

There were 18 goals scored across the four fixtures – the most on a single day in the history of the European Championships – with Spain putting five past Slovakia to get out of Group E alongside Sweden, who came out on top against Poland thanks to a late, late winner.

In Group F, Hungary threatened an upset but were twice pegged back by Germany in a 2-2 draw, while Portugal and France ended in the same scoreline thanks to record-breaker Cristiano Ronaldo.

Before the focus switches to the knockout stages, Stats Perform reflects on a dramatic conclusion to the round-robin stage.


Slovakia 0-5 Spain: Landmark win comes with a little help

Spain equalled the largest margin of victory in a game at the European Championship, becoming the fifth different side to win by five goals in the competition. The others? France and Denmark in 1984, the Netherlands in 2000 and Sweden in 2004).

It was also a milestone win, Spain's 50th at a major tournament. They are the fourth European nation to reach a half-century, joining Germany, Italy and France.

They were helped out by a Slovakia side that scored not one but two own goals, Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka the unfortunate duo to take the tally to eight in this year's tournament. The result means head coach Stefan Tarkovic has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since taking charge, with this his 12th game at the helm.

Ferran Torres grabbed the fourth goal of the contest with what was his first touch of the game. He scored just 44 seconds after coming on as a substitute – the quickest goal scored by a replacement at a European Championship since fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Valeron in 2004 (39 seconds versus Russia).

Sweden 3-2 Poland: Lewandowski at the double in defeat

Sweden continued their excellent form against Poland – they have won 10 of the past 12 meetings, including six in a row now – thanks in part to a fast start.

Emil Forsberg broke the deadlock after just 81 seconds, the second quickest goal scored from the start of a European Championship fixture. Dmitri Kirichenko holds the record for the fastest, doing so in a mere 65 seconds for Russia against Greece in 2004.

Poland rallied from 2-0 down to draw level thanks to Robert Lewandowski, who made sure he was on target in consecutive major tournament appearances for the first time in his career. He now has 69 goals for his country – the rest of his nation's squad at Euro 2020 have managed a combined total of 34.

However, the Bayern Munich forward will not be able to add to his tally at Euro 2020, with Poland exiting as their winless run was extended to six games. Viktor Claesson grabbed the winner in added time, meaning Sweden scored three in a game at the Euros for the first time since beating Bulgaria 5-0 in 2004.

 

Portugal 2-2 France: Benzema back on target as Ronaldo hits the spot

There were four goals, three penalties, two different scorers and one record broken in an eventful draw in Budapest.

Ronaldo converted both as Portugal became the first team to score two spot-kicks in a single European Championship fixture. The Juventus superstar's double makes him the first player to score as many as five goals in the group stages of a single Euros since Michel Platini (seven in 1984), who is the only individual to have managed more in a single group round.

Talisman Ronaldo also became the first European player in World Cup and European Championship history to score a combined 20 or more goals across the competitions. His tally sits at 21, while he has 109 in his Portugal career, putting him level with Ali Daei as the leading international men's scorer.

His former Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema also grabbed a brace. His first of the game saw him score for France for the first time since October 8, 2015, five years and 258 days ago. It is the longest gap between goals for Les Bleus since current boss Didier Deschamps went seven years between finding the net.

France are now unbeaten in each of their last 12 group-stage outings at major tournaments, with their reward for topping the table being a last-16 clash with Switzerland.

Germany 2-2 Hungary: Goretzka earns Low a little more time

On a night with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster ride, Germany needed a late equaliser to make sure they progressed from the group stage for a seventh time in eight major international tournaments.

Joachim Low's reign appeared set for an unexpectedly early end when they trailed both 1-0 and 2-1 in Munich, with Adam Szalai's opener seeing Germany become one of only four sides to concede first in all three of their group outings, after Turkey, North Macedonia and Poland.

Kai Havertz equalised, in the process becoming the fourth-youngest player to score in back-to-back major tournament appearances for Germany, after Thomas Muller (2010), Franz Beckenbauer (1966) and Lukas Podolski (2006).

There was a first opportunity at Euro 2020 for teenager Jamal Musiala, who became the youngest player to make an appearance for the German national team at a major tournament, aged 18 years and 117 days.

Sergio Busquets had to wipe away the tears after reflecting on his experience of missing Spain's opening two Euro 2020 matches after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Barcelona midfielder was not part of Spain's squad for their Group E draws with Sweden or Poland after being made to self-isolate.

However, Busquets returned to the starting line-up for Wednesday's 5-0 win against Slovakia as Spain equalled the largest margin of victory in a European Championship game.

Own goals from Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka bookended strikes from Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres in La Roja's emphatic victory in Seville.

Spain are the fifth different side to win by five goals in the competition after France (1984), Denmark (1984), the Netherlands (2000) and Sweden (2004).

And the record-equalling win for Spain was a particularly emotional occasion for Busquets, who was named the official man of the match for his impressive midfield display.

"I'm excited to be here," he said through tears in his post-match interview. "I had a pretty bad time at home for 10 days not knowing if I would return or not.

"This result was what we needed. The fans were behind us and we played well from the beginning. We were so much stronger today and got the luck we didn't previously have.

"I accept the criticism we have faced, but not the lack of respect and more from people who have also been here."

Busquets won all three of his aerial duels against Slovakia, gained possession five times and played a joint-high two key passes.

He was taken off with around 20 minutes to play, but the midfielder put that down as a precautionary measure.

"I feel very well," he added. "Just before I was taken off I felt my calf a bit and the coach did not want to risk it.

"Hopefully now I can continue to accumulate minutes. Today is another step for me and now I'm prepared for anything that comes."

Spain needed a victory to guarantee a place in the last 16, where Croatia now await in Copenhagen next Monday, after being held by Sweden and Poland.

The victory for La Roja was their landmark 50th at major tournaments, making them the fourth European side to reach that milestone after Germany, Italy and France.

Sarabia, who scored the third of Spain's goals and assisted Torres' flicked finish, hopes his side can use the victory to build confidence in the knockout stages.

"We needed this to restore people's enthusiasm," he said. "The team played 20 very good minutes, with brutal intensity. We deserved the victory.

"We know the Croatia game will be difficult, but we also know the potential of this team."

Spain profited from Martin Dubravka's goalkeeping howler and then turned on the style to thrash Slovakia 5-0 and book their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Luis Enrique's men required a win in Wednesday's clash to guarantee a last-16 spot after drawing their first two games and were given a huge helping hand by Dubravka.

The Slovakia keeper saved an Alvaro Morata penalty early on – the fifth in a row Spain have missed – before comically flapping the ball into his own net with half an hour played.

That put Spain on their way to an emphatic win, the first time they have ever scored five times in a European Championship match, after Aymeric Laporte's first international goal and strikes from Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres before Juraj Kucka's own goal.

Spain were awarded a penalty inside the first 12 minutes after VAR intervened and adjudged Jakub Hromada fouled Koke when attempting to clear the ball.

Dubravka dived to his right and got two hands to the powerful attempt but, after chances went begging for Sarabia and Pedri, the keeper went from hero to zero.

Sarabia's long-range shot looped into the air after striking the crossbar and Dubravka, under a bit of pressure from Morata, inexplicably pushed the ball into his own net.

Dubravka could have done better for Spain's second goal, too, as Gerard Moreno beat the marauding keeper to a ball and crossed for Laporte to head into the top-right corner.

Spain were in complete control of the game when Sarabia swept home Jordi Alba's pass into the bottom-right corner with 56 minutes on the clock.

Slovakia still had a chance of advancing as one of the best third-placed sides, but substitute Torres flicked Sarabia's cross past Dubravka just 44 seconds after entering the pitch and Kucka knocked the ball into his own net soon after for Spain's fifth.

Luis Enrique accepted criticism ahead of Spain's decisive Group E clash with Slovakia, where another draw may not be enough.

Spain have drawn with Sweden and Poland so far at Euro 2020 and could follow Portugal in 2016 as the second ever team to be held in all three matches in a European Championship group stage.

Portugal went on to win that tournament, but Spain would not even be assured of third place in their pool and a place in the next round if results went against them elsewhere.

Worryingly for Luis Enrique, whose side missed a host of chances in their first two matches, a point apiece appears the most likely result.

Spain have drawn each of their past four major tournament matches – one shy of a record for European sides.

And a point would suit Slovakia, ensuring they advance for the third time in three major tournament appearances, after the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2016.

Spain coach Luis Enrique described himself as "preoccupied with us meriting better results but not getting them".

"We've created enough chances to win both games," he added, yet the under-fire boss recognised he could not complain about scrutiny.

"We coaches fully understand the fact that we live by results, and what not meeting your objectives means," Luis Enrique said.

"I'm hoping that by the end of Wednesday we're not only in the knockouts but as group winners. Right now I'll accept the criticism."
 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Slovakia – Martin Dubravka

Goalkeeper Dubravka conceded the costly penalty when Slovakia lost their second match to Sweden, having earlier made a stunning save. That was one of just five stops so far at the tournament, though, while he has picked the ball out of his net twice. Spain may be wasteful, but that save rate may need to improve.

Spain – Gerard Moreno

Moreno will certainly hope to keen Dubravka busy – if he gets the opportunity. The forward missed a penalty against Poland (Spain's fifth miss from their past eight attempts at the Euros) and Luis Enrique hinted at potentially looking for a solution in attack. Moreno has been involved in more goals (nine) for Spain since his debut than any other player.
 

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Slovakia have won only one of their six meetings with Spain (D1 L4), a home victory in a European Championship qualifier back in October 2014 (2-1). This is their first encounter at a major tournament.
– Spain have won all three of their previous matches on home soil against Slovakia, scoring 11 goals and conceding two.
– Slovakia are unbeaten in their final group-stage game at both of their previous two major tournaments, winning 3-2 against Italy at the 2010 World Cup and drawing 0-0 with England at Euro 2016. They have progressed from the group stages at both previous tournaments.
– Including one as caretaker manager in 2018, Stefan Tarkovic has only lost two of his 11 matches in charge of Slovakia in all competitions (W4 D5 L2), with one of those defeats coming last time out against Sweden; Slovakia are yet to lose back-to-back games under him.
– Spain have drawn their last four major tournament matches (World Cup and Euros); among European nations, only Italy (five from 1980 to 1982) have ever had a longer run of successive such draws.

Marek Hamsik remains bullish about Slovakia's hopes of reaching the Euro 2020 knockout stage ahead of their final group game away to Spain.

Slovakia lost 1-0 to Sweden on Friday in St Petersburg, leaving them on three points from two games after defeating Poland 2-1 in their opening fixture.

Spain, who drew 0-0 with Sweden on matchday one, face on Poland in Seville on Saturday, before their final group clash with Slovakia, which will determine group placings.

"It's still open. We have to recover well," Slovakia star Hamsik said after the Sweden defeat.

"Spain are the group favourites and also contenders to win the tournament. It will be very challenging."

Sweden scored the game's only goal in the 77th minute from an Emil Forsberg penalty, won after a foul from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The goal prevented Slovakia from taking a strong position in Group E, with Sweden moving into top spot on four points, ahead of Hamsik's side on three.

"It's a pity," Hamsik added. "If they hadn't scored from a penalty we would probably have got a draw, and it would have been a 'golden' point.

"We were a little more passive in the second half and we paid dearly for it."

Forsberg's penalty ended a run of 365 minutes without a goal for Sweden at the European Championship, marking their first since their opening game at Euro 2016 against the Republic of Ireland.

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson was delighted with his side's position after two games and praised Real Sociedad star Alexander Isak – who impressed and played a part in winning the decisive penalty with his pass for Robin Quaison.

"It's really good to see him on the pitch, he's a huge talent," Andersson said. "He's a young player who's still got a lot of room for improvement. I think there is a lot more to come from him. He played really well today."

It was an underwhelming day for England as they could not seal their place in the next round of Euro 2020, though Sweden moved a step closer to at least ensuring they do not go home early.

Nevertheless, Friday was not a day of great entertainment in the European Championship, with no team managing more than one goal among the three matches.

Only one of the three goals on the day was not a penalty, as Ivan Perisic made history when sealing a point for Croatia.

While the matches may not have set pulses racing, there was still plenty to talk about.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at some of the best facts from across the day's games.

England 0-0 Scotland: Kane tame as Three Lions rendered toothless in rare draw

England failed to make sure of their qualification for the knockout phase as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Scotland, only the fourth goalless game in 115 official fixtures between the old rivals.

It was the first 0-0 draw between them since 1987, and the only one in 33 clashes at Wembley.

Similarly, England had only ever slumped to one other goalless draw at the new Wembley, that stalemate as far back as October 2010 when Fabio Capello's side were held by Montenegro.

Accentuating England's toothlessness was the fact Harry Kane managed only 19 touches of the ball, the fewest he has ever managed for the Three Lions in a game in which he has featured for more than 45 minutes.

The last time he had fewer touches for Spurs while playing for more than 45 minutes was against Manchester city in April 2018 (17 touches in 90 minutes).

Nevertheless, England can seal qualification with a point on Tuesday against the Czech Republic, and they can at least take solace in that this was their 14th clean sheet from their previous 18 matches, evidence that at least one area of the team is functioning properly.

 

Croatia 1-1 Czech Republic: Schick nets again as Perisic makes history with equaliser

Patrik Schick's bid for the Golden Boot received another boost as he scored a controversial penalty to open the scoring against Croatia, the Bayer Leverkusen striker subsequently becoming the first Czech Republic player to net three or more goals at a major tournament since Milan Baros (five) in Euro 2004.

Schick is also the first player to score each of his team's first three goals of a European Championship tournament since Mario Gomez for Germany in 2012.

But his spot-kick was cancelled out in the second half by Ivan Perisic, who made history in doing so.

The Inter winger became the first Croatian to score at four major international tournaments (2014 and 2018 World Cups, Euro 2016 and Euro 2020).

His powerful strike was his eighth in such tournaments, a figure that only Antoine Griezmann (10), Cristiano Ronaldo (10) and Romelu Lukaku (nine) can better among European players in the past four international events.

He is now just one behind Davor Suker's all-time record of nine goals across World Cups and the European Championship for Croatia.

Could he level the record in Croatia's pivotal final group game against Scotland?

 

Sweden 1-0 Slovakia: Isak a ray of sunshine in turgid encounter

St Petersburg was not treated to a classic as Sweden narrowly beat Slovakia at the Krestovsky Stadium, but Janne Andersson's men gave themselves a massive boost with respect to potentially reaching the knockout phase.

Emil Forsberg's second-half penalty ultimately proved decisive and ended a run of 365 minutes without a Sweden goal in European Championship tournaments, their most recent goal coming in their Euro 2016 opener.

That was their 23rd second-half goal in the history of the Euros, which equates to 88 percent of their total, the highest percentage of any side with at least three goals in the competition.

Once Sweden went ahead there looked to be little danger of a turnaround, as Slovakia – who had previously looked happy to settle for a point – failed to get a single shot on target, making them only the second team to fail in that regard after Turkey against Italy.

While it was by no means an exhilarating watch, Alexander Isak at least did his best to provide some entertainment.

The Real Sociedad forward completed six dribbles over the course of the match, the most by any player in a single Euro 2020 game and a figure unmatched by a Sweden player since 1992.

 

Sweden edged closer to the last 16 of Euro 2020 after a 1-0 victory over Slovakia in St Petersburg on Friday.

After beating Poland on matchday one, Stefan Tarkovic's side knew another victory would secure their place in the next round before their final group game with Spain.

But it was Sweden who produced more of a consistent attacking threat – certainly compared with their goalless draw with Spain, when they had just 15 per cent of the possession – as they sought to avoid going four consecutive European Championship games without scoring.

Alexander Isak was their most threatening player and it was the Real Sociedad striker's clever throughball that saw Robin Quaison fouled by goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, allowing Emil Forsberg to win the contest from the penalty spot.

There was little ambition shown by either side in a first half in which the only shot on target occurred after three minutes, Sebastian Larsson's deflected effort from the edge of the box proving a comfortable save for Dubravka.

Slovakia enjoyed more of the possession but were not prepared to commit too many to the attack, while Sweden seemed content to wait for their chances.

Their first real openings came just before the hour mark. Ludwig Augustinsson's header from Larsson's cross was superbly saved by Dubravka, with Marcus Danielson nodding over from the resulting corner.

Isak at last came to life in the final 30 minutes, heading narrowly over before testing Dubravka with a good right-footed shot from the edge of the box after a strong run.

It was Isak's first-time pass that saw Dubravka commit and bring down Quaison, allowing Forsberg to slot home from 12 yards and end a 365-minute wait for a Sweden goal at the Euros, their last coming against the Republic of Ireland five years ago.
 

What does it mean? Sweden take charge of Group E

With four points from two games, Sweden will now go into their final group game with Poland in a strong position to reach the next round.

Slovakia stay on three points and will be overtaken by Spain should they defeat Poland, who must avoid defeat if they are to finish in the top two.

Isak at last provides the spark

After a deeply uninspiring first half, it was Sweden who began to take more risks after the interval as Isak became increasingly involved.

The striker completed six dribbles, the most by any player in a single game at this tournament, and provided the moment of inspiration that led to the penalty.

Slovakia pay for caution

Slovakia seemed to have the game more or less under control in the first half, but they did not match Sweden's improved intensity after the interval.

Their possession dropped from 61.4 per cent to 54.5 per cent from the first half to the second, while they failed to manage a shot on target throughout.

What's next?

Sweden face Poland in St Petersburg and Slovakia meet Spain in Seville, with each game on June 23.

Slovakia will seek to build on a famous opening-game triumph over Poland at Euro 2020 when they face Sweden on Friday.

Stefan Tarkovic's side sit proudly atop Group E after a 2-1 win in St Petersburg on Monday, with the in-form Milan Skriniar's goal decisive.

It represented just a second victory at a European Championship for Slovakia, who are enjoying a six-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

After those joyous celebrations at the start of the week, Tarkovic has had to contend with the unwelcome distraction of two coronavirus positives within the camp.

Defender Denis Vavro and a member of staff are the duo affected but Tarkovic said UEFA protocols had been followed "to avoid the spread of the infection", with the pair now in self-isolation.

A win would send Slovakia through to the knockout phase but they face a Sweden side who secured a surprise result of their own in holding Spain to a goalless draw.

Janne Andersson's men showed practically no desire to attack as Spain dominated the ball, enjoying 85 per cent of possession.

Sweden clocked up just 162 passes against Spain's 917, while forward Marcus Berg exited proceedings after 69 minutes having touched the ball only 17 times.

The dynamics in this game, which will again be in St Petersburg, are altogether different and the Swedes will be under pressure to get on the front foot.

The omens do not bode well for Sweden, who have lost their second match of the group stage at each of the last four major tournaments.

However, those games were against Spain, England, Italy and Germany.

It was honours even the last time these two sides met as they shared a 1-1 draw back in 2018.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sweden – Alexander Isak

Despite Sweden being so thoroughly outplayed by Spain, Isak did manage to make a positive impression and might, in fact, have scored. His shot bounced off the knee of Marcos Llorente and struck the post, while the Real Sociedad forward laid on a glorious chance for Berg, who fluffed his lines.

Slovakia – Milan Skriniar

Inter centre-half Skriniar might once have been considered an unlikely match-winner, but after failing to score in his first 37 international outings he now has three goals in his past four appearances for Slovakia. Skriniar also led the way for his team in touches (69), clearances (10) and blocks (two), as well as winning five duels against Poland.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first meeting between Sweden and Slovakia at a major tournament (European Championship and World Cup).

- Slovakia have never beaten Sweden in their five previous encounters (D3 L2), with their last four games never producing more than two goals.

- Slovakia have won two games in total at the Euros – one against Russia in 2016 and another against Poland last time out, which took place in Russia; their match against Sweden will also be held in Russia.

- Following their 2-1 victory against Poland on MD1, Slovakia will be looking to win their opening two games at a major tournament for the first time.

- Sweden have failed to score in three consecutive matches at the Euros – their final two group games in 2016 and their opening match against Spain last time out. They had only failed to score three times in their previous 18 games at the tournament before this.

There was more drama on day four of Euro 2020, although the pace of the tournament slowed just a little in Seville.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia claimed precious wins before attention turned to Spain and Sweden, the two presumed favourites in Group E.

But neither team had the imagination to forge a breakthrough, even if Spain were completely dominant.

That stalemate features as Stats Perform reviews the action with the best Opta data.

 

Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick shocks Scots from record-breaking range

Patrik Schick's brilliant brace at Hampden Park gave the Czech Republic their first win over Scotland since October 2010.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker's double was the first from a Czech player at a major tournament since Tomas Rosicky against the United States at the 2006 World Cup, while Milan Baros managed it at Euro 2004 versus Denmark.

Schick's second was particularly special, lobbing 36-year-old David Marshall – Scotland's second-oldest player at a major tournament – from 49.7 yards, the longest distance for a goal at the Euros since records began in 1980. It surpassed Torsten Frings' 38.6-yard effort for Germany against the Netherlands in 2004.

That strike took Schick to eight goals (and two assists) in his past nine international starts, but the headed opener alone might have been enough.

Scotland have now failed to score in five of their seven Euros matches and five of their past six opening matches at major tournaments. They have lost five of those six, too.

 

Poland 1-2 Slovakia: Same Lewy woes but new pain for Szczesny

Poland's big names endured frustrating outings in a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia that means they have now won just one of their past 10 opening matches at major tournaments.

Milan Skriniar's third goal in four appearances for Slovakia settled the Group E fixture, but Poland had been on the back foot since Wojciech Szczesny's 18th-minute own goal.

He became the first goalkeeper to put through his own net at a European Championship, while Grzegorz Krychowiak's subsequent red card made this one of only two examples of a team at the Euros scoring an own goal and having a player sent off in the same game (also Czechoslovakia versus the Netherlands in 1976).

Szczesny had been the most recent Poland player dismissed at a major tournament back in 2012.

Karol Linetty did equalise for Poland 32 seconds into the second half – the second-fastest goal after half-time, behind Marcel Coras for Romania against Germany in 1984 (21 seconds) – but another off day for Robert Lewandowski harmed their hopes of victory before Skriniar's strike.

Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to register a goal with any of his 17 attempts since netting against Portugal at Euro 2016.

 

Spain 0-0 Sweden: Luis Enrique's side luckless in Seville

Spain will wonder how they did not earn all three points against Sweden in the tournament's first goalless draw.

La Roja dominated 85 per cent of the possession, attempted 917 passes and completed 830 of them. All three figures are records since 1980.

Luis Enrique's side were frustratingly profligate and Spain have now won just one of their past six opening matches at major tournaments.

The only positive was an 11th Spanish clean sheet in their past 14 games at the Euros, with this remarkably the first time Sweden – who showed little attacking ambition – have drawn a blank in a Euros opener.

They have now failed to score in three consecutive games in the competition, though, and failed to show how they might end that run against Slovakia on Friday.

Stefan Tarkovic praised his Slovakia side for their efforts in "neutralising" Robert Lewandowski during a shock 2-1 Euro 2020 win over Poland.

Slovakia claimed only their second European Championship victory as an independent nation thanks to Milan Skriniar's 69th-minute winner in St Petersburg on Monday.

An own goal from Wojciech Szczesny, which followed great work from Robert Mak, gave Slovakia a first-half lead that was cancelled out 32 seconds into the second half by Karol Linetty.

But Grzegorz Krychowiak's red card turned the game back in Slovakia's favour and Skriniar's third goal in his last four games for Slovakia secured the three points.

Key to Slovakia's success was Lewandowski's lack of influence. He had the fewest touches of any Poland outfield player in the first half (22) and finished with 39. None of his five shots hit the target, meaning he has still not scored in a major tournament since Euro 2016.

Asked about how they shut down a striker who broke Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record with 41 goals in the 2020-21 season, Tarkovic told a media conference: "I think the whole team played very well, we prepared for Poland's attack very responsibly and of course Lewandowski plays a decisive role in the final third. 

"Skriniar did not personally mark Lewandowski, but the duels with him and other players such as Peter Pekarik and Lubomir Satka, I'm really happy they managed to neutralise such a great player as Lewandowski.

"After this win, there will be even more pressure to make it from the group. For me it wasn't really about the result, it was about showing what we are capable of. We will enjoy this win but tomorrow we are starting to prepare for Sweden.

"This means a lot for me, I think it means a lot for all the people that have prepared together with us, the coaching staff, everyone around the team. 

"We spent three weeks together and we had time to focus on the things we wanted to concentrate on. There are still two difficult games for us but what's really good is that the co-operation is working and the players want to show the country of Slovakia and the fans that they want to fight for Slovakia."

Milan Skriniar's superb second-half strike gave Slovakia a surprise win to start their Euro 2020 campaign as they overcame 10-man Poland 2-1 in St Petersburg.

Seen as the likely whipping boys of Group E, Slovakia were out of the blocks significantly quicker than Poland and took the lead thanks to great work from Robert Mak that led to Wojciech Szczesny becoming the first goalkeeper to score an own goal at a European Championship.

Poland levelled soon after half-time through Karol Linetty, but the game turned on the dismissal of midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Slovakia made the most of their extra man as Skriniar, who did an excellent job keeping Robert Lewandowski quiet, had a decisive impact at the other end with a fine 69th-minute effort.

Ondrej Duda hit the side-netting with the game's first half-chance before Mak produced the opener out of nothing with a wonderful individual run.

With the ball on the left-hand side with Kamil Jozwiak and Bartosz Bereszynski for company, Mak nutmegged the latter and surged into the box before seeing his shot bounce off the post and then Szczesny and into the net.

Juraj Kucka bent an effort narrowly over the bar from long range as Slovakia continued to look the more composed in front of goal, with Krychowiak's ambitious effort the best Poland could muster in the first half.

But just 32 seconds into the second half Poland were level, Linetty netting the second-fastest second-half goal scored in a European Championship game (Marcel Coras - 21 seconds for Romania v Germany in 1984) as his scuffed finish beat Martin Dubravka following impressive link-up play between Mateusz Klich and Maciej Rybus.

Poland dictated the contest thereafter until the 62nd minute when Krychowiak saw red, receiving a second yellow after pulling back Jakub Hromada.

And the 10 men were subsequently punished in style by Skriniar, who controlled Marek Hamsik's flick-on from Mak's corner before producing an unerring finish into the bottom-left corner that sealed Slovakia's second European Championship win as an independent nation.

Poland will look to talisman Robert Lewandowski to improve their paltry European Championship goalscoring returns when they face Slovakia in Euro 2020 Group E.

In their 11 previous matches at the finals, Poland have never scored more than one goal, while they also have a habit of making sluggish starts.

A 1-0 win over Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 was their only win in the past nine tournament openers, with four draws and four defeats elsewhere.

Arkadiusz Milik scored the winner in Nice five year ago, but the 27-year-old forward's subsequent wretched luck with knee injuries struck again this week as he was ruled out of Poland's forthcoming campaign.

Head coach Paulo Sousa has elected not to call up a replacement, placing even more emphasis on Bayern Munich superstar Lewandowski.

The 32-year-old broke Gerd Muller's 49-year-old Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in just 29 league games this season, with an overall return of 48 in 40 for Bayern in 2020-21.

"It's a big challenge, not just for me, but for the whole team," Lech Poznan centre-back Lubomir Satka, who will be tasked with trying to shackle Lewandowski, told UEFA.com

"I hope the other guys will help me."

Once upon a time, that task would have been one for Martin Skrtel and the former Slovakia and Liverpool defender is cautiously optimistic over his compatriots' hopes in a tough group that also features Spain and Sweden.

"Everything is possible," he told SPORT. "I don't want to guess, but if we were second to the Spanish, it would be great."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Poland – Robert Lewandowski

His exploits this season took him on to a staggering 277 Bundesliga goals, meaning Lewandowski is only behind Muller (365) in the all-time standings. However, eight previous Euro appearances have yielded only two goals. Surely that record is about to improve for the leading centre-forward in world football?

Slovakia – Juraj Kucka

If Slovakia are to upset the odds, expect Parma's Kucka to be involved. In fact, irrespective of the result, the 34-year-old midfielder is likely to be reasonably visible. He was involved in nine of his club's 39 Serie A goals this season, with seven goals and two assists, while his 15 tackles per-game were the highest average of any midfielder in Italy's top flight.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Slovakia have won just one of their four previous matches at the European Championship, beating Russia 2-1 in their second match back in 2016.
- Slovakia are making their third appearance at a major tournament, after World Cup 2010 and Euro 2016. They were eliminated in the round of 16 in both of those tournaments.
- Poland were the only team never to trail at any point of a game at Euro 2016 in normal or extra time. They were knocked out on penalties by Portugal in the quarter-finals.
- In March 2021, Kacper Kozlowski became the youngest player to play for the Poland at 17 years and 163 days. He is also the second youngest player to play in the Polish Ekstraklasa (15y 215d).
- Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (101) this season became the third Slovakian to surpass 100 Premier League appearances after Skrtel (242) and Szilard Nemeth (117).

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