Euro 2024: Spain repeat history to dump Albania out

Spain have won all three group games at the European Championship for the first time since 2008 after they claimed a narrow 1-0 victory to end Albania’s Euro 2024 journey.

With top spot already secured, Spain boss Luis de la Fuente opted to make 10 changes for Spain’s final match in Group B.

Those alterations did not have any adverse effect as Ferran Torres required just 13 minutes to slot a left-shot strike out of the reach of Brentford’s Thomas Strakosha.

After experiencing a difficult first period, Albania offered a significant improvement in the second half as they desperately fought to turn the game on its head.

However, they could find no way through a stubborn Spain backline, ensuring they finished bottom of Group B with just a point to their name.

As for Spain, they will now turn their focus to the knockout round as they continue to dream of replicating the European Championship triumphs of 2008 and 2012.

Former Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte was the only survivor from Thursday’s 1-0 win over Italy as De la Fuente opted to give his regular starters a rest ahead of the knockout rounds.

In contrast to the Spain boss, Albania manager Sylvinho made just one change for the must-win game, replacing Elseid Hysaj with Rayo Vallecano right-back Ivan Balliu.

La Roja wasted little time in creating the game’s first chance, with Jesus Navas standing the ball up for Mikel Merino to draw a smart stop from Strakosha.

Joselu, who is closing in on a move to Qatar, then headed over the bar to offer another warning sign to the Albanian backline.

Just moments later, Albania’s fears came to fruition as Dani Olmo produced a well-weighted through ball to slip in Torres, who opened his body to send a left foot shot in off the far post.

With a narrow lead established, Spain appeared to be in complete control and cruising towards the break until Kristjan Asllani reminded them that they were still in the contest.

Asllani collected the ball on the edge of the box, before seeing his powerful shot pushed away by the outstretched Raya.


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