Spain qualified for the final phase of the European Under-21 as the first in Group B after a hard-fought victory against the Czech Republic (2-0). On May 31, they will face the second-placed in Group D in the quarterfinals, which will be settled this Wednesday between Portugal, Croatia, Switzerland and England.
The road was filled with obstacles because Spain was not found. Neither against Slovenia, nor against Italy, nor against the Czech Republic did he manage to create the empathy and complicity necessary to brighten the game. The team’s trip to play in the group stage of the U21 Euro Cup in Maribor and Celje was a succession of disconnected acts in search of a course of action. The burden of three games in a week with no room for preparation or rest, together with the youth of the squad, added difficulties to the mission.
Without Cucurella for rest or Zubimendi for injury, the last game, the decisive one, was a journey without a rudder. Depleted by a blow to the ribs, little Zubimendi stayed on the bench and Moncayola, a Navarrese oak that acted as the axis in the strictest sense of the term, stood at the bosun’s post. He nailed the midfielder and ordered the ball out so that no one gave it to him. Sometimes because Karabec, Bucha and Lingr covered him, and others because he did not offer himself on time. As the team did not resort to a more elaborate alternative, the Spanish center-backs, the team’s true engine, ended up throwing long at their wings, if not at nine, Abel Ruiz. The consequence was inexorable: the interiors, Gonzalo Villar and Manu García, intervened with difficulty and for more than an hour the reigning champion of the tournament lost control of the match while in the other Italy Group match she placed first scoring goals (4-0 ) in the Slovenian goal.
The classification of Spain was in the air for a long time. The Czechs did a serious job. They didn’t need more to defuse the poor La Rojita, barely sustained by the profession of its players. Especially from an insurmountable Guillamón in his line with Cuenca, a Manu García determined to get the convoy on track, and an unrepentant Barrenetxea who did not stop fabricating hand-to-hand situations against rivals who ended up exhausted from their feints. The delivery of the end of the Royal Society took its fruit after the game time, when Guillamón enabled it with a flat shipment to space. The measured center of Barrenetxea was exploited to a touch by Dani Gómez, who entered the second half to become the liquidator.
Ten minutes after the 1-0, Dani Gómez exploded again with a left foot a play from Barrenetxea and a service from Manu García. The madridista turned on himself and struck down the goalkeeper for his near post, without an angle, without time. It was a predator goal. Luis de la Fuente’s bench greeted the 2-0 with a hug festival. The coaches know that the best of this week were the scores and the classification.