by Jean-Pierre Thiesset (9/7/22)
Above: Lucia Garcia Cordoba wheels away in delight after scoring for Spain. Photo: Euro 2022.
Spain overcame a shock early goal concession to overcome Finland by the comfortable-looking scoreline of 4-1 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.
Having to overcome adversity is a theme of Spain’s Euros. As well as having to overcome that early Finnish strike, they were also having to balance the lost of leading players Jennifer Hermoso and 2021 Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.
This match, played in front of a crowd of just under 17,000 was historic as it was the biggest audience to watch a group stage match not involving the host nation in the tournament’s history, and the crowd were treated to a dramatic early goal which was the fastest scored in the Euros for 27 years as Linda Sällström put them ahead with just 52 seconds played.
The Spanish used two different strategies to impose themselves on the game – the usual tiki-taka of short passes amidst a quick game. It must be emphasised that Finland that were very well organised, keeping their 4-4-2 strictly in place.
Despite their adherence to the tactical set-up, Finland were not able to stem the flow of Spanish possession, as they gained 78% possession overall). Praise is due to keeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela. The Tottenham Hotspur player put in an outstanding performance to limit the number of goals that Spain scored.
So, good start, for Spain, but given the events later yesterday in Brentford, they will need to improve if they want to win against Germany to grab the top spot in Group B.
Teams: FINLAND (4-4-2) – Korpela, Koivisto, Pikkujämsä, Westerlund, Hyyrynen (Kuikka 67), Öling (Rantanen 87), Alanen, Summanen (Ahtinen 84), Engman (Sainio 46), Franssi (Danielsson 84), Sällström.
Scorers: Sällström 1′.
SPAIN (4-3-3): Panos, Ouahabi (Garcia 60), Leon (Mapi), Paredes, Batlle, Guerrero (Aleixandri 60), Guijarro, Bonmati (del Castillo 78), Caldentey, Gonzalez (Cardona 78), Cordoba (Pina 86).
Scorers: Paredes 26′, Bonmati 41′, Cordoba 75′, Caldentey (pen) 90+4′.
Referee: Kateryna Monzul (Ukraine).