Euro 2016: Pique header gives Spain 1-0 win over Czech Republic

  • AFP, Paris
  • Updated: Jun 13, 2016 20:28 IST
Gerard Pique celebrates after scoring the winner for Spain. (REUTERS)

An 87th-minute header from Gerard Pique proved the difference as defending champions Spain overcame a resilient defence from Czech Republic to win 1-0 in their Euro 2016 Group D opener in Toulouse on Monday.

David de Gea’s selection ahead of captain Iker Casillas in the Spain goal dominated headlines before kick-off.

But it was his opposite number who was the busier ‘keeper as Arsenal man and Czech captain Petr Cech saved brilliantly from Alvaro Morata, Jordi Alba and David Silva to keep Spain at bay.

Del Bosque’s selection, announced just before kick-off, was made tougher when reports claimed Manchester United ‘keeper De Gea organised a party at which two women were forced to have sex with two footballers.

De Gea has strongly denied the claims as “a lie” designed to damage his reputation and his start is likely to be seen as a show of support after what has been a controversy filled week for the 25-year-old.

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Spain, who won the competition in 2008 and 2012, are looking to become the first team to win the title three times in succession but have included a number of fresh faces for this summer’s tournament.

Starting XI

Spain: De Gea, Juanfran, Ramos, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva, Nolito, Morata

Czech Republic: Cech, Kaderabek, Sivok, Hubnik, Limbersky, Darida, Plasil, Gebre-Selassie, Krejci, Rosicky, Necid

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