Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Spain, Italy advance after contrasting wins

Published:Saturday | June 18, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Spain striker Alvaro Morata

Alvaro Morata scored twice as defending champion Spain cruised to a 3-0 victory over Turkey yesterday to qualify for the knockout stages of the European Championship.

Spain recorded the largest winning margin of the tournament so far as its second victory left it top of Group D, while Turkey's second defeat leaves it on the verge of elimination.

After failing to impress with missed chances in an opening 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, forwards Morata and Manuel 'Nolito' Agudo scored goals three minutes apart in the first half to give Spain a 2-0 lead, which Turkey could not respond to.

Juventus' Morata opened the scoring with a header into the top-right corner off a pass over the top by Nolito in the 34th minute, sending the ball past goalkeeper Volkan Babacan from 12 metres.

An error by the Turkey defence set up the second goal as centre-back Mehmet Topal failed to clear Cesc Fabregas' lobbed pass and instead lobbed it into the path of Nolito, who slid the ball in despite slipping as he took the shot.

Spain made it 3-0 three minutes into the second half when Andres Iniesta's through ball found Jordi Alba, who appeared slightly offside in the box, and the Barcelona left-back squared it for Morata to apply a simple finish.

Morata could have scored a hat-trick but was forced off the ball in a good position shortly after the hour mark.

 

NO SUCCESSFUL SHOTS

 

Turkey had no answer to Spain's possession game and when chances did come, execution was poor as the Turks failed to register a single shot on target. Striker Burak Yilmaz threatened the Spain goal shortly after Morata's second, but his wild shot went high and wide.

Spain remains unbeaten in 14 games at the European Championship and hasn't lost since a 1-0 defeat to Portugal in 2004. Spain also hasn't conceded a goal in the European tournament since its opener in 2012, a 1-1 draw against Italy.

Turkey faces a fine from UEFA after its fans used flares and a smoke bomb in the stands and repeatedly threw firecrackers on to the field, after the final whistle.

Earlier in Group D, second-place Croatia drew 2-2 with the third-place Czechs.

Italy also qualified to the next round after a close 1 - 0 win over Sweden courtesy of a goal from striker Eder.