Alvaro Morata came under fire for his part in Spain's goalless draw with Sweden on matchday one
Alvaro Morata came under fire for his part in Spain's goalless draw with Sweden on matchday one

Group E: Spain vs Poland, kick-off 8pm (UK time, BBC1)

Spain and Poland will both be desperate to put the disappointment of matchday one behind them when they meet in Seville.

Spain huffed and puffed but could not find a way past a resolute Sweden side in their Euro 2020 opener. 

Poland, on the other hand, were victims of a smash and grab during their loss to Slovakia. 

The equation for both sides is quite simple. Win tonight and the outlook is immediately better. But fail and it is out of their hands.

Story so far

Spain did everything right in the first two-thirds of the pitch against Sweden ibut could not find a way past keeper Robin Olsen.

Luis Enrique’s men had 85% of the ball, limited their opponents to fewer than 100 completed passes and took 22 shots on goal.

The 0-0 scoreline at full-time did not tell the full story of an evening of frustration at La Cartuja.

Poland, meanwhile, were left ruing their luck after a ridiculous own goal from Wojciech Szczesny and a marvellous Milan Skriniar volley saw them beaten 2-1 by Slovakia.

Karol Linetty restored parity for the Poles from close range in between but it was not enough.

Thiago time

Thiago made an instant impact off the bench against Sweden
Thiago made an instant impact off the bench against Sweden

To the surprise of many, Liverpool midfielder Thiago started the Sweden match on the bench.

Spain boss Enrique instead opted for Rodri, Koke and Pedri in midfield but the Liverpool man was added to the mix just after the hour mark.

The impact was almost immediate. He won all of his duels, helping his side pin Sweden deep in their own half.

The former Bayern Munich maestro was progressive with his passes, with 31% of the 29 he attempted played into the final third.

Thiago, 30 was one of the form midfielders heading into the tournament. It is unlikely he will be left on the bench for this crunch clash.

Replacing Krychowiak

Paulo Sousa needs to decide how he is going to replace experienced midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak.

The one-time West Brom enforcer was sent off in the Slovakia defeat after picking up two yellow cards.

Krychowiak, 31, was key to Sousa’s 3-5-2 system, acting as the single pivot ahead of the defence and behind the midfield.

That particular role puts a lot of pressure on a player. But Poland have a few options in Krychowiak’s absence.

Piotr Zielinski could drop back from his attacking position to act as a screen. Alternatively, they could bring Brighton’s versatile midfielder Jakub Moder into the fold.

We need to talk about Morata

Alvaro Morata met his expected goals per 90 average but still trailed Gerard Moreno in domestic action
Alvaro Morata met his expected goals per 90 average but still trailed Gerard Moreno in domestic action

Alvaro Morata led the line for Spain against Sweden ahead of the in-form Gerard Moreno.

He was replaced after 66 minutes having taken three shots, failing to hit the target with any of his efforts and spurning what was arguably Spain’s best chance of the match when finding himself free in the area with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Wastefulness in front of goal has plagued Morata throughout his career. At the very top level, those misses matter.

Moreno, coming off the back of a 23-goal season with Villarreal, worked the goalkeeper not long after coming on. And in his 22 minutes on the pitch, he equalled Morata’s shot total.

Enrique has a big decision to make on who will be his leading striker moving forward.

Supporting Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski was left frustrated against Slovakia and dropped deeper to get involved
Robert Lewandowski was left frustrated against Slovakia and dropped deeper to get involved

On paper, it appears Poland did a very good job in involving Robert Lewandowski.

The Bayern Munich hitman finished the game with five shots, a total only Breel Embolo, Patrik Schick and Ciro Immobile could better after matchday one.

But he failed to work the goalkeeper with any of them. In fact, three were blocked.

It was a common theme throughout the match with Slovakia swarming the prolific No9 whenever the ball ended up at his feet in the penalty area.

Their job was made easier by the fact he was the only striker named in the starting XI.

Sousa could add a second into the mix, though his options are fairly limited — the other three strikers in Poland’s squad have a combined four international goals between them.

Another frustrating evening could be on the cards for Poland's prolific marksman.

Tags

SpainPolandEuropean Championship

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