Spain Romp Past Croatia In Opener As Yamal Makes Euros History

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Spain made a dream start to Euro 2024 as Alvaro Morata scored in a statement 3-0 victory over Croatia in Berlin on Saturday, with Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest player in the competition’s history.

The three-time European champions have often been accused of being toothless in attack during recent major tournaments, but produced an eye-catching display at the Olympiastadion to cut apart a disappointing Croatia.

Morata broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with his seventh Euros goal, moving joint-third on the all-time list alongside Alan Shearer and Antoine Griezmann.

Fabian Ruiz added a second shortly afterwards with a wonderful individual strike.

Yamal made his mark with the assist for Dani Carvajal to effectively kill the game as a contest on the stroke of half-time, while Croatia striker Bruno Petkovic missed a late penalty.

“Very happy with the win, for my (Euros) debut,” Yamal told La 1.

“We’ve got confidence, we’re a very efficient team and we’re showing it. We’re happy because all the work from the last few months has borne fruit.”

This repeat of last year’s Nations League final, won by Spain on penalties after a 0-0 draw, suggests La Roja are capable of contending for a record-breaking fourth European Championship title.

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World Cup semi-finalists Croatia, though, have it all to do if they are to reach the knockout phase for a fifth consecutive major tournament, with games against Albania and holders Italy to come in a difficult Group B.

Luka Modric, so often their inspiration, was substituted midway through the second half by coach Zlatko Dalic.

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente named an exciting starting XI, including wingers Nico Williams and Yamal.

The Barcelona starlet, 16 years and 338 days old, beat the previous record for youngest player at a Euros held by Polish international Kacper Kozlowski, who played at Euro 2020 at 17 years and 246 days old.

“We are very proud to have Lamine Yamal, he’s got so much football left to show,” said Ruiz.

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