Not a surprising result, but the timing of Gerard Pique’s winner tells the story of how frustrating this was for the holders. Andres Iniesta was essential for Spain, but Alvaro Morata will be worried about his starting spot after a disappointing performance. Petr Cech and his defenders kept the Czechs in the game in the first half while at the death, Darida could have snatched a point.In the end, though, the result was fair.
91min: CHANCE. Darida found space in the area and smashed the ball towards goal, but De Gea was on hand to block the ball. Excellent save considering he has had little to do all afternoon.
89min: It feels now like the Czechs are finally beaten and Spain are playing out for time. They took their time, but they got there in the end.
86min GOAL. Pique nods in a cross from Iniesta (who else?) and Spain have a deserved lead. It’s cruel on the Czechs, who have held out for so long, but it is fair.
85min: Substitution Sural for Gebrei Sellassie.
84min: Thiago corner sails innocently into the arms of Cech and the buzz seems to have waned somewhat. Spain still look eager, but have the Czechs done enough to hold on? Five minutes to go.
80min: CHANCE Krejchi makes incredible sliding challenge to deny Thiago who seemed certain to score when put through. Spain getting ever closer. Czechs as defiant as ever.
78min: CHANCE Ramos cross from the right finds Adruiz who can’t put his header to wards goal and still Spain search in vain.
76min OVERHEAD KICK CHANCE. Juanfran’s floated cross finds substitute Adruiz free in the area. He bravely tries the acrobatic, but it’s off target.
74min Substitution: LAFATA ON FOR NECID
72min CHANCE. Excellent, quick passing from Spain, Iniesta to Nolito who first time plays in Iniesta who sets up Silva. The City man bends the ball wide of the post. Seemed destined to hit the target.
70min: CHANCE. Silva dinks a ball into the area and Alba takes the ball down but cannot quite go round Cech and Hubnik clears.
69min: Spain SUBSTITUTION: Fabregas replaced by Thiago
66min: Much improved game since the break, with the Czechs more than holding their own. But will they be made to pay for being more attacking. Are they playing into Spain’s trap. Silva slips a ball through to Fabregas but Sivok again outmuscles the Cheslea midfielder and clears.
65min: CHANCE! Krejchi cross from a short corner, Gebrei Sellasie header cleared off the line by Fabregas! So close for the Czechs.
62min: SUBSTITUTION: Unsurprisingly, Morata is replaced by Aduriz. Seven caps, one goal.
61min: Booking for Limberski for a foul on Silva, but the Fabregas free-kick is headed away.
60min Czechs are having more of the ball, though rarely under control. They’ve spent more time in the Spanish half since half time than they did in the whole of the first half.
59min An Iniesta cross from the left goes, unsurprisingly, just over the head of the towering David Silva.
Spain’s decision to play faster and push the game on has meant the chance of them being caught by the Czechs has increased. Pique is almost caught out at the back and it seems both sides are struggling to cope with the change of pace. Makes for a significantly more equal and exciting game, however.
Hubnik now goes close at the right end,m stretching for a quality cross only for the ball to roll towards De Gea.
Spain are definitely getting more crosses in this half at a faster tempo with Juanfran again putting in a dangerous centre. But Morata, who has been frustrated all game, is still convert from promising positions.
50min: Spain are trying to up the tempo at the beginning of the second half. Still using their short, slick passing but trying to forcean error from the staunch Czech defence.
47min: Two more Spain corners come to nothing and Rosicky then breaks like man half his age, but is bundled off the ball as he approaches the Spanish half.
46min: Morata played onside by Sivok and then his ball across the area is almost turned into his own net by Hubnik. From the resultant corner, Nolito and then Ramos are denied by Cech.
And we’re back.
First-half review: Spain utterly dominant in possession, constantly probing in front of what is effectively a Czech Republic 6-3-1 formation. The reigning champions had several chances, most notably Morata, but Cech was equal to everything thrown at him while his defence ably assisted in forcing Spain to go down the wings. It seemed clear a Spain goal would come, but ont he stroke of half-time, Necid struck from 20 yards and De Gea was forced into his first save. Surely Spain’s dominance will tell in the second half.
44min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
This would have been a turn-up. Necid strikes powerfully from the edge of the area, but De Gea catches the shot. A timely reminder that Spain need a goal.
Alongside Cech, Sivok has been a mountain for Czech Republic in the first half.
41min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
There is little let-up for the Czechs here. Spain are totally dominant in possession and without Cech in goal, Spain would have been ahead by now.
40min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Alba blasts a shot from the left of the area, but Cech is equal to it and palms it away and the ball is cleared. Spain have not been without their chances this half, but Cech has been in comanding form. Again, he smothers a chance from Silva.
38min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Fabregas free-kick high into area again headed away by Sivok who has been unpassable int he first half for the Czechs. An Iniesta speculative strike goes over with Cech out of position.
36min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Nolito picks up the ball 30 yards out, turns and blasts widely over. A sign of Spanish frustration possibly as the Czechs, at times appearing to be playing six at the back, refuse to cede space.
33min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
This is currently the stereotypical Spanish display of constant posession and probing. They are finding chinks in the Czech armour, but have so far failed to beat both Sivok and Cech. Can they hold out until half-time?
32min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Nolito slides in Fabregas, but he shows indecision in the area and his pass is blocked for a corner.
28min: CHANCE. Morata receives pass from Iniesta, wrong foots the defender with a dummy and drives across Cech, who tips the ball wide. Chances are coming Spain’s way, but the Czechs are holding firm.
25min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
The excellence and importance of Iniesta is demonstrated when his threaded, driven pass into the area nearly reaches Morata, only for centre-back Sivok to clear.
22min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
When Spain regain posession at the back, the Czechs are sporadically chasing them down. To little effect so far, but it could become a problem if Spain are complacent. The Czechs are sitting deep out of possession and forcing Spain to find a way round.
15min: SAVE: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Silva speeds down the right and drills a cross into the area, but Morata’s shot from point-blank range is blocked by Cech. Best chance so far. Spain are finding it best to go round the Czech back four rather than through.
14min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Iniesta launches a free-kick towards Pique, but the centre-back gets under the ball and heads over.
12min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Darida takes ball from Busquets and launches a ball forward, but Pique headers away. If that diagonal was more accurate, or Pique slipped, Spain would have been caught short.
10min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Spain playing the ball around, but in front of the Czechs, who do not appear too worried. They have looked the more dangerous going forward and breaking. Spain, though, are used to this and have the playrs to unlock the Czech lines of defence, though they could find going down the wings more profitable.
9min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Morata, sliding for the ball, clatters into the linesman and takes him down. The Spaniard will be hoping this does not affect any decisions for the rest of the game.
7min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Juanfran patiently waits for an opening on the right wing to cross, but the ball is cleared. On the other wing, Silva plays in Morata but the forward is clearly offside and anyway shoots straight at Cech.
5min: Darier, however, takes the free-kick and it canons in the wall. The ball is back with Spain and again the carousel begins…
4min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
That corner cam to nothing, but Pique then blocks No 7 on the edge of the Spain area and it is a third set-piece for the Czechs. A free-kick on the edge of the area. Rosicky is over the ball..
2min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
Gabriselase surges forward fown Jodri Alba’s left side and the ball goes out ofr a corner to the Czechs. From the resulting corner, the ball deflects off Busquets for a second corner…
1min: Spain 0-0 Czech Republic
As you might presume, Spain take early control of the ball, playing it across their back four and midfield and probing down the left with Nolito. The Czechs soaking it all up.
PEEP! And we’re off here in Toulouse. Spain, in red shirts, blue socks and shorts, kick off with the Czechs all in white.
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