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Saturday July 20, 2024

Spain into last 16 as Albania’s Euro 2024 journey ends

Spain concluded their group stage campaign with perfect record of three wins in Group B in Euro 2024

By Web Desk
June 25, 2024
Spains head coach Luis de la Fuente watches from the sideline during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group B football match between Albania and Spain at the Duesseldorf Arena in Duesseldorf on June 24, 2024. — AFP
Spain's head coach Luis de la Fuente watches from the sideline during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group B football match between Albania and Spain at the Duesseldorf Arena in Duesseldorf on June 24, 2024. — AFP 

Spain further solidified their Euro 2024 title ambitions with a 1-0 win over Albania on Monday, thanks to Ferran Torres's decisive goal.

The victory saw Spain conclude their group stage campaign with a perfect record of three wins in Group B.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente made ten changes to the team that beat reigning champions Italy. Despite these changes, Spain displayed their depth and quality, with Torres, named man of the match, scoring the clinching goal in the 13th minute.

Spain's dominant performance in the group mirrors their 2008 campaign when they also won all group games en route to the title. In contrast, Albania’s dreams of advancing to the knockout rounds were dashed as they finished at the bottom of the group with just one point.

Spain topped the group with nine points, while Italy secured second place with four points after a dramatic 1-1 draw with Croatia, who finished third with two points. Albania’s loss had broader implications, ensuring that France, the Netherlands, and England progressed to the next round even before their final group matches.

Centre-back Aymeric Laporte was the only player retained from the previous game, as De la Fuente gave his squad players a chance to shine. Albania, buoyed by thousands of passionate fans in red and black, hoped to make history but found themselves outclassed.

Torres's goal came after Dani Olmo's precise pass split the Albanian defence, allowing Torres to finish with a left-foot strike off the post. Spain, donning a pastel-yellow kit, controlled the game, limiting Albania's chances. It took Albania until the final minute of the first half to challenge goalkeeper David Raya, who saved a powerful shot from Kristjan Asllani.

Spain briefly intensified their play early in the second half, with Joselu narrowly missing a volley. Albania’s hopes were revived with the arrival of Armando Broja, who almost scored but was thwarted by Raya. Despite a strong finish, Albania couldn't breach Spain’s defence.