Reigning champions Spain continued their quest to defend their European crown with an emphatic win over Turkey, the biggest win so far in the tournament. A brace from Morata and a strike from Nolito saw the Spanish comfortably through to the next stage.
Spain 3-0 Turkey
Spain came into the tie at the Stade de Nice fresh off a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic. Turkey, on the other hand, had different fortunes in their outing as they failed to pick up a point in 1 goal loss to Croatia. They were also hoping to break the curse - they haven't beaten Spain in 52 years.
The game started with great intensity from both sides, but especially the Spanish. Manager Del Bosque seemed to have given the instructions to his players to get out and attack Turkey from the get-go in hopes of getting an early goal after they had to leave it late in their match against Czech Republic.
Turkey number #1 Volkan Babacan was forced into action early on as Morata took aim with a long-range strike that was safely palmed away. The Spanish forward - who's club future is currently up in the air - rattled the woodwork in the 10th minute when he got on the end of full-back Jordi Alba's cross.
To nobody's surprise, possession was dominated by Spain, although they were abnormally careless and loose with the ball. That could not be said for Andres Iniesta, however, as the elusive midfielder was similar to an artist in the way he was 'painting' in the midfield.
Iniesta's Barcelona team-mate, Sergio Busquets, showed that he had an eye for fine passing too. The robust defensive-midfielder excellently picked out Nolito following an interception but the winger was unable to finish.
He made up for his miss, though.
First, in the 34th minute he put in a tempting cross from the left flank which Alvaro Morata, who got the better of Mehmet Topal, nodded in. Morata received slight criticism in his last game with his finishing being questioned, but there was no question here.
Well worked goal from Spain and they have the lead thanks to Alvaro Morata! #ESP #EURO2016 pic.twitter.com/vwr19H4gvQ— TheSportMatrix (@TheSportMatrix) June 17, 2016
Then, within a matter of minutes, Spain were two to the good.
A series of comical errors led to Nolito hitting the back of the net off an assist from Cesc Fabregas which was underhit. The ball somehow found it's way to the Celta Vigo forward, who was in lots of space with lots of time but the finish was rather scuffed. Nonetheless, the ball rolled its way into the corner past Babacan and Spain were 2-0 up on the scoreboard.
Two goals in two minutes. That's what happens when you lose concentration.
And so ended a dominant first half for Spain. That's hardly new, but unlike against the Czech Republic they managed to turn possession into a comfortable lead. Turkey went into the interval without having a shot on target, summing up their rather lifeless display.
Turkey head-coach Fatih Terim shuffled his pack to start the second half, bringing on Nuri Sahin for Calhanoglu, winning his 50th international cap.
However all hope was crushed was just 3 minutes into the second half.
Andres Iniesta threaded an outrageous pass to a darting Jordi Alba, who teed the ball to Morata for an easy tap in. Effortless and classy from the reigning European Champions to tear Turkey apart. Game over, surely.
The Spanish continued to attack the Turkish defences. David Silva had a handful of opportunities to make it four but was unsuccessful. He was, however, treated to a standing ovation from the Spanish and several Turkish fans as he was substituted off for Bruno. A fine shift from the Man City midfielder.
A rather strange event occurred in the 65th minute regarding Arda Turan. The Barcelona man was subject to a few jeers and boos from his own fans. He responded by giving a sarcastic thumbs up to the supporters. The manager decided to keep him on the pitch rather than substituting him, however.
Apart from that incident, the rest of the second half was lackluster, as Spain were cruising and Turkey had given up.
The final whistle blew with celebration from the Spanish players as they are through to the knockout stages, where they will be a formidable force. Turkey's chances for progression are looking bleak.
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