Tuesday, August 3, 2021
sport

Robert Lewandowski scored his first goal of Euro 2020 as Poland held Spain to keep alive their hopes of reaching the knockouts.

Poland knew that a defeat would mean they could not progress from Group E and they fell behind towards the end of the first half when Alvaro Morata’s close-range finish was given by VAR after initially being ruled out for offside.
But Lewandowski, who had struggled to make an impact in Poland’s opening-game defeat to Slovakia, equalised early in the second half when he thumped home a header.

Spain had the chance to retake the lead soon after with a penalty, awarded by referee Daniele Orsato after he had checked a challenge on Gerard Moreno on the pitchside monitor, but Moreno compounded to slam his effort against the post before Morata sent the follow-up wide.

Manchester City forward Ferran Torres headed wide as Spain pushed in the closing stages, while Morata was denied from point-blank range by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny late on.

But too often their play was predictable and lacking in urgency and the draw means the three-time European champions are still without a win at Euro 2020 after they were held to a goalless draw by Sweden in their opener.

Spain are third in Group E with two points, with Slovakia second on three and Sweden top with four. Luis Enrique’s side play Slovakia in their final group game on Wednesday (17:00 BST) while Poland take on Sweden at the same time.
Slow and predictable Spain need to find bite
This was another disappointing display at Euro 2020 by Spain, who have failed to win either of their first games of a European Championship since 1996.

From 2008 until 2012, they were the dominant force in world football, winning a World Cup and two Euros in that time.

They were renowned for their short passing and quick movement ‘Tiki-taka’ style of football but while the long passages of passing remain – they completed 954 passes against Sweden – they fall short as an attacking threat in the final third.

Against Poland they once again dominated possession but clear-cut chances were rare as too often they played safe, square passes rather than trying to produce the creativity needed to unlock a well-organised Poland defence.

While Morata was denied by a great save late on, that chance came in a rare spell of urgency from the Spanish, who were too sluggish for long periods and the pressure is now on them heading into their final group game against Slovakia.

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