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Europe, beware! Morata & Nolito make goalscoring Spain look formidable again

9:10 PM GMT 17/06/2016
Alvaro Morata Nolito Spain Turkey
The two forwards propelled la Roja to a 3-0 win over Turkey, and the way their attackers clicked is ominous for everyone else at Euro 2016

GOAL COMMENT

Goals were the only thing missing. Spain dominated from start to finish in the Euro 2016 opener against Czech Republic on Monday, but needed a late winner from Gerard Pique to claim all three points. For all their possession, territory and control, they found the goals hard to come by. Against Turkey, however, everything clicked.

No team at Euro 2016 had won a game by more than two prior to this one and in all 20 matches in this tournament before Spain met Turkey on Friday, all had gone into the last five minutes with only one goal in it.

Spain had threatened to do that against the Czechs in Toulouse, but Alvaro Morata fired straight at Petr Cech and Nolito was not involved as much as he would have liked. For all Andres Iniesta's brilliance in their Group D debut, it took a leap of faith from Pique to win it for la Roja .

With that test negotiated, coach Vicente del Bosque sent a clear message to his players by picking the same XI for the game against Turkey. And this time there was much more fluency in attack. Nolito set up Morata for the first goal, a fine header after 34 minutes, and the Celta Vigo forward poked home the second moments later after the Turkish defence failed to clear Cesc Fabregas' scooped pass.

Morata made it 3-0 three minutes into the second half after fine work by Iniesta and Jordi Alba and could have had a hat-trick as he headed wide a little later on. After struggling to find space in their game against the Czechs, they carved Turkey open almost at will and now need only a point against second-placed Croatia on Tuesday to secure first place in Group D.

How they perform in that match will give a clearer idea of whether they can go on to win this tournament for a third time in succession, but their win over Turkey means they are one of only three teams to start Euro 2016 with back-to-back victories so far. France and Italy are the other two.

Spain started Euro 2016 with a debate over the goalkeeper as Del Bosque was forced to decide between Iker Casillas and David de Gea and, despite a sex scandal with allegations against the Manchester United shot-stopper, the Spain boss placed his faith in the 25-year-old. And that was that.

Now something similar has happened with the forwards. Coming into the competition, it was unclear which strikers would start for la Roja. Ever since the retirement of David Villa after the 2014 World Cup, the centre-forward slot has been a problem position for Spain and with the Diego Costa experiment shelved, Del Bosque opted for Morata and Nolito alongside David Silva in a front three, with Cesc, Iniesta and Busquets behind them.

And although Aritz Aduriz did well in a substitute appearance against the Czechs, the veteran coach has stuck to his guns once again and been rewarded. It all went well for the two forwards in this match and, with the possible exception of Fabregas who is not entirely convincing in midfield, Spain's starting line-up looks just about right now.

So as their forwards found their feet in Nice, Spain produced Euro 2016's first truly one-sided match. They already had the control, the territory and the possession, now they have the goals to go with it. With Morata and Nolito on song, that spells danger for everyone else at Euro 2016 - starting with Croatia on Tuesday.

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