Spain 1-0 Czech Republic : Spain grab three points right at the death courtesy a Pique header
It took Spain 87 minutes to break the resilience of the Czechs. Defending champions of Europe dominated the game with 74% possession but couldn’t find a way past a stubborn Czech defense until three minutes remained in the normal time.
Petr Cech was solid throughout the game making many great saves most notably against Alvaro Morata, David Silva and Jordi Alba. There wasn’t much he could do about the Pique goal which came from a brilliant Iniesta cross.
Spain’s attack lacked firepower against the Czech Republic side which entered the game with the worst defensive record in the qualifiers of all the qualified teams.
Spain began dominating from earlier stages of the game with the best chance in the first half coming from Alvaro Morata. Three vital saves from Petr Cech ensured a goalless first half.
Spain looked more offensive in the second but couldn’t find the back of the net still. Spain’s first choice striker Alvaro Morata didn’t look very impressive and made way for Aritz Aduriz an hour into the game. 35 year old Aduriz became the oldest Spanish player to appear in the Euros.
Silva sent a left foot shot off target and Aduriz lashed an acrobatic bicycle kick wide as it looked Spain would have to settle for a draw.
But the deadlock was broken in the 87th minute as Pique headed in home from six yards a sublime Iniesta cross.
The Czechs came close to cancel it out in the stoppage time but the effort from Vladimir Darida was denied by David De Gea. Spain will now face Turkey on Friday in their bid to win third consecutive Euro Cup, a feat no one has achieved before while Czech Republic will lock horns with Croatia on the same day.