Defending champions Spain clinched the second win of their Euro 2016 campaign, easing past Turkey 3-0 on Thursday to secure their place in the knockout stage.
Here’s a look at five key points from the match:
Spain find their groove
In the 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in the opener, the La Furia Roja were unconvincing, and had it not been for the sublime combination of Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, they would most certainly have dropped two points. Against Turkey, however, fans got to see the kind of combination play that made them the best team in the World six years ago at the 2010 World Cup. From Iniesta pulling the strings in the midfield to the fullbacks making attacking runs, it was a complete performance.
Costa rueing his decision?
Diego Costa has some thinking to do, and since he wasn’t picked in the Spain squad for the Euro, the Chelsea striker has plenty of time to do so. The Brazilian born chose to play his international football for Spain, but he had a disasterous campaign at the 2014 World Cup which was held in his birth country.
Two years later, his situation is even more awkward. Brazil were knocked out of the Copa America in the group stage with the lack of a proper No 9 in their squad apparent, while Alvaro Morata showed against Turkey that at 23, he is there to make the role his own for Spain. The Juventus forward’s two goals---a glancing header and a poacher’s tap-in---typified the target-man’s role.
Chance for rest
At International tournaments such as the Euro and the World Cup, players are required to play a lot more games over the span of a month than they do for their clubs. Having secured maximum points from their opening two games, Vicente del Bosque can now rest his key players for the final group game against Croatia, arguably their toughest opponents of the lot.
Calhanoglu needs his moment
Hakan Calhanoglu is a good player, and at just 22, time is on his side to become a great one. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga over the past two seasons, and is linked with some of the top clubs in Europe each time a transfer window rolls by. But since he hasn’t proven himself at the top level, like say the Champions League or the Euros, a concrete offer never seems to materialise.
Against Spain, he failed to make an impact, being replaced at half time for Nuri Sahin. The set-piece specialist - a quick YouTube search will back that statement - needs a good showing in the final game against the Czechs to catch the eye of scouts. A beautiful free kick will do nicely.
De Gea enjoys the view
David de Gea had to make just three saves against the Czech Republic, and against Turkey he had to make none. After much talk about whether he or veteran Iker Casillas should be the primary shot-stopper for Spain, del Bosque has chosen to go with the Manchester United man. But the ‘keeper has not had a chance to make an impression yet.
One wonders what would happen if the coach were to rest de Gea for the final group game and play Casillas instead. Should the FC Porto man have a cracker of a game, it really would put del Bosque in a conundrum for the knockouts when they face tougher opponents.