Ukraine U21s 0, Spain U21s 3: Highlights and Match Comments
Millá played the exact same starting XI that gave us the win against the Czech Republic: De Gea; Montoya, Botía, Domínguez, Dídac; Javi Martinez, Ander Herrera, Thiago; Mata, Muniain and Adrián. Why mess with what works, right?
And work it did again. Mata and Thiago were in scintillating form, Muniain did his crazy, energetic thing going forwards, and the defence looked so settled that Didac and Montoya spent much of the their time playing wingers and giving crosses.
The first goal came before 10 minutes had passed, as Ander Herrera gave Mata an assist that Mata himself would’ve been proud of, an Ukrainian defender slipped at the worst possible moment, and Mata scored with ease.
Not 20 minutes later, Thiago gives the rushing Montoya an excellent pass that Montoya crosses beautifully for Adrián to bundle in home.
Things settled down a little after this, and Adrián and Munian practically folded into midfield to wait out and hope for a clearer opportunity. The opportunity came well into the second half, to another great Thiago pass, but Mata was fouled in the box before he could shoot, so it was a PK for us and a straight red for the defender responsible. Mata scored, cool as a cucumber…
… and one minute later, he was on the opposite side of the field, arguing with the ref who’d just awarded Ukraine a PK after De Gea rushed out with enthusiasm to stop a counter. De Gea had a reputation to mantain, though, and he stopped the PK and dealt with the ensuing CK without messing his horrible hair-cut.
Then came the subs. Parejo for Javi Martínez -instead of for Adrián, as it has been usual, mostly because our captain needed to keep away from yellow cards-, then Bojan for Adrián -striker for striker, at least- and finally Azpilicueta for Montoya.
The subs worked reasonably well -Bojan giving a pass to Thiago, whose shot flew a touch above the crossbar, Thiago setting Bojan up with a great chance that went nowhere-, and the match came to an end as everyone was more concerned with the Czech Republic’s last-gasp come back (from 1-0 to 1-2 in the last 10 minutes) to beat England and grab a place in the semifinals.
We’ll play Belarus on Wednesday at 18:00 CET, followed by Switzerland-Czech Republic. There are four teams, but only three places to the Olympic Games and, of course, only one trophy. We can do it. A POR ELLOS!
We’ll be calling the matches live (and reporting news), on our Twitter, so follow us in the meanwhile!
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