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Lamine Yamal helps Spain’s fashion evolve, Granit Xhaka pulls strings for Switzerland – Euro 2024 hits and misses | Soccer Information

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Yamal helps Spain’s style evolve

Lamine Yamal was glorious in Spain’s win over Croatia

Spain’s assembly with Croatia ended a run of 136 aggressive fixtures during which they’ve had extra possession than their opponents, courting again 16 years to their win over Germany within the remaining of Euro 2008.

And but, regardless of solely having a 47 per cent share of the ball in Saturday’s Group B encounter, the win might hardly have been extra convincing, sealed throughout a medical first-half displaying.

It is just 18 months since Spain exited the World Cup with a limp penalty shoot-out loss to Morocco throughout which they made 1,000 passes and but solely mustered one shot on track, a statistic which summed up their struggles in turning possession into possibilities.

Watching this much-changed facet towards Croatia, although, a facet that includes a 16-year-old Lamine Yamal on one flank and a 21-year-old Nico Williams on the opposite, was a really totally different expertise.

As a substitute of directionless passing, there was incision, typified by the Fabian Ruiz through-ball that carved Croatia open for the opening purpose, and the various moments when Williams and, to a good better extent Yamal, sprang ahead following transitions.

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Their pace and directness seems to have given Spain a distinct dimension from different latest tournaments. It could be at odds with their id however it’s one which makes them a harder opponent, and a greater guess to go deep this time round.
Nick Wright

Xhaka pulls strings for Switzerland in player-of-match display

Switzerland's Granit Xhaka, left, and Hungary's Dominik Szoboszlai challenge for the ball during a Group A match between Hungary and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Granit Xhaka put in a captain’s efficiency for Switzerland as he led his facet to a 3-1 opening win over Hungary.

The midfielder was key for membership final season as he helped Bayer Leverkusen to a shock Bundesliga and German Cup double, and is translating his positive type to the worldwide stage.

The ex-Arsenal man had essentially the most touches, essentially the most passes accomplished and essentially the most passes within the remaining third of any participant in Cologne as he pulled the strings for Switzerland.

The 31-year-old’s very good show was deservedly rewarded by UEFA as he was named the participant of the match.

The UEFA technical observer panel mentioned: “He was glorious in possession, each in build-up play and in supplying penetrating passes.

“He displayed an amazing work ethic and confirmed very good management, providing nice organisational expertise.”

Scotland face Switzerland subsequent in Group A on Wednesday and Steve Clarke’s facet must restrict Xhaka’s affect if they’re to get a much-needed Positive end result.
Declan Olley

‘Dark horses’ Hungary now left with little room for manoeuvre

Barnabas Varga stoops to pull a goal back for Hungary against Switzerland
Barnabas Varga gave Hungary hope with this second-half header towards Switzerland

Hungary have been many individuals’s darkish horses for the Euros after going by means of their qualifying marketing campaign unbeaten, however following the chastening 3-1 loss to Switzerland in Cologne, Marco Rossi’s facet are actually in peril of not even making it out of a tough-looking Group A.

They produced a limp first-half displaying on the RheinEnergieStadion to deservedly path 2-0 on the break and, regardless of enhancing within the second interval – which was not laborious – it was too little, too late.

Rossi held his fingers up after the match, taking accountability for his workforce’s torpid show, saying: “The primary half was very unhealthy, we have been too passive.

“I’m not trying to level fingers. I’m the coach, so I take accountability.

“It is laborious to appropriate the type of errors that we made. Our gamers don’t make errors like this each day.”

Hungary might want to present extra of what we noticed within the second half, particularly from their influential captain Dominik Szoboszlai – invisible earlier than the interval and extra just like the participant we noticed within the first half of final season for Liverpool – once they face hosts Germany in Stuttgart on Wednesday if they don’t seem to be to be on the verge of an early exit from the event.
Richard Morgan

Uncharacteristic Croatia must tighten up

Croatia players gather at the end of a Group B match between Spain and Croatia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Spain defeated Croatia 3-0. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Croatia have been blown away by Spain within the first half

For a nation that constantly punches above its weight on the World Cup, Croatia have a surprisingly mediocre document on the Euros, solely reaching the quarter-finals – and no additional – twice in six makes an attempt.

Being drawn in a bunch with Spain and Italy did nothing to extend the probabilities of Croatia lastly reaching the ultimate 4 – and nor did their first outing in Germany.

Zlatko Dalic’s facet labored their approach again into the sport after a passive begin, however they have been blown away in a 13-minute spell earlier than half-time. Normally so sturdy, every of Spain’s objectives have been aided by disorganised and weak Croatia defending.

Equally regarding for Dalic can be how little affect his fabled midfield was capable of exert, with solely Mateo Kovacic rising from the competition with credit score. At instances, Luka Modric appeared just like the 38-year-old that he’s.

Perhaps that is as a result of, not like at Actual Madrid, Modric was working with restricted high quality in entrance of him. Andrej Kramaric and Ante Budimir have been nameless, whereas Bruno Petkovic’s penalty miss summed up his contribution.

Fortuitously for Croatia, they’ve what ought to be their best group recreation up subsequent, going through Albania on Wednesday. The truth that solely eight groups are eradicated on the group stage additionally works of their favour.

However Dalic’s workforce must tighten up defensively – and demand extra from their forwards – if they’re to be taken severely at this event.
Joe Shread

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