There was little drama in Friday’s late match, as the Spanish trampled the Turks 3-0. The debate can now commence as to whether the defending European champions have refound the form that once made them powerhouses.
Spain had racked up a very Spain-typical 1-0 win in their first match and were looking to seize control of Group D and assure progression into the next round, while the Turks, losers their first time out, were trying to get their campaign started in Nice.
Spain hogged the ball, as is their wont and created a pair of chances in the tenth minute. Alvaro Morata forced Volkan Babacan into a diving save, and Pique’s header after the resulting corner bounced off the ground and over the bar.
Turkey’s best look at goal came on a near-miss Hakan Calhanoglu free kick in minute 26. Two minutes later, Nolito came even closer with a mid-range shot that just curled around the post.
And in minute 34, Spain broke through when Nolito put in a precision cross and Alvaro directed a firm header into the net. And two minutes later, Alvaro put in a cross, which came off the head of Mehmet Topal and landed at Nolito’s feet. His finish was clinical, and Spain led by a pair.
Turkey’s defense had almost ceased to exist, and they were lucky to head into the dressing rooms only down 2-0.
Spain needed a massive comeback in the second half a la the Czech Republic, but what they got was more pain. Only three minutes after the restart, a failed offside trap sprung Jordi Alba and , Morata, and the striker had no trouble completing his brace. Alba may have been slightly offside, but the goal was aloowed to stand.
Any residual Turkish resistance was broken, and the Spaniards began creating quality chances every three or four minutes. But they either took pity or couldn’t be asked to score any further goals.
The 3-0 win was the most convincing performance by Spain in major tournament since the final of the 2012 European Championship. The Spaniards haven’t lost a match in this event since 2004.
They now need but a point from their final group match against Croatia on Tuesday, while Turkey must beat the Czech Republic or they will be heading home.