gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Spain’s New Generation Shines as Yamal Makes History in 3-0 Victory Over Croatia – The Zimbabwe Mail

Spain’s New Generation Shines as Yamal Makes History in 3-0 Victory Over Croatia

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Berlin  – Spain’s fresh talent took center stage as Lamine Yamal made history by becoming the youngest player to appear in a European Championship, leading his team to a commanding 3-0 victory over Croatia in their opening game on Saturday.

At just 16 years and 338 days old, Yamal also set another record by assisting Dani Carvajal’s goal, marking the third for Spain before halftime. Despite not dominating ball possession for the first time in 136 competitive games, with only 46% possession against Croatia according to UEFA, Spain’s new generation proved their mettle.

Nico Williams, aged 21, played a crucial role alongside Yamal, showcasing Spain’s depth of young talent as they aim for their fourth European title. Midfielder Fabián Ruiz scored and assisted the opening goal for captain Álvaro Morata, highlighting a dominant performance from the Spanish side.

“We have to stay wary, stay calm and be proud. We have to keep improving in the next game,” Spain coach Luis De La Fuente urged, cautioning against overconfidence despite the impressive start.

Croatia, whose fans outnumbered the Spanish supporters at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, faced a challenging start to Euro 2024. The Croatian supporters, known for their passionate support, tried to rally their team, but Spain’s defense, led by Marc Cucurella and Nacho, thwarted any significant threats.

Croatia’s veteran star Luka Modrić, playing in his fourth European Championship, struggled to influence the game. Real Madrid teammates Nacho and Carvajal gave him a warm embrace before kickoff, acknowledging his legacy. However, Modrić and Mateo Kovačić were substituted in the 65th minute as coach Zlatko Dalić looked ahead to the upcoming matches.

“We weren’t aggressive enough, we were too far from the (Spanish) players, and when you give such players so much space, you don’t have opportunities,” Dalić lamented, recognizing his team’s shortcomings.

Spain took the lead early, with Ruiz setting up Morata for the opening goal. Ruiz then added to the tally with a well-placed shot before halftime. Yamal’s historic assist to Carvajal sealed Spain’s dominant first-half performance.

Croatia had a brief moment of hope when substitute Bruno Petković’s penalty in the 80th minute was saved by Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simón. Ivan Perišić thought he had scored on the rebound, but a VAR review disallowed the goal due to encroachment.

Spain now sits comfortably in Group B, with their next challenge against Italy in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday. Croatia will aim to bounce back against Albania in Hamburg on Wednesday.

This victory not only marks a significant start for Spain in Euro 2024 but also highlights the promise and potential of its young stars, setting the stage for an exciting tournament ahead.

Source: AP