Spain earned their first win at Euro 2020 in style as they thrashed Slovakia to progress as Group E runners-up and set up a last-16 tie with Croatia.
Luis Enrique’s side head into the knockout stages on the back of their best attacking display of the tournament, proving far too good for a seriously below-par Slovakia.
Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and Ferran Torres all scored after a bizarre own goal from Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka broke the deadlock at La Cartuja Stadium in Seville.
The Slovakia goalkeeper, who earlier saved a penalty from Alvaro Morata, punched the ball into his own net after Sarabia’s effort hit the crossbar and looped into the air.
Juraj Kucka inadvertently completed the rout for Spain, bundling the ball over his own line from close range.
Spain’s meeting with Croatia will take place in Copenhagen on Monday at19:00 EAT, while Slovakia are out.
Spain impress as Group E drama unfolds
After draws against Sweden and Poland, in which Spain struggled to find the target despite boasting 85% and then 76.4% of possession, Luis Enrique compared his side to a bottle of Cava waiting to be uncorked at Euro 2020.
This was more reminiscent of the sparkling football that saw La Roja crowned European champions in 2008 and 2012, either side of a World Cup victory, although Slovakia did not provide much of a test after Dubravka pushed Sarabia’s effort into his own net instead of behind for a corner.
Less than 20 minutes earlier he had saved a penalty from Morata, whose effort was a comfortable height for the goalkeeper.
The kick, awarded after Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers consulted the pitchside monitor, was the fifth successive penalty Spain have missed and they have failed to score with six of their past nine at European Championships.
Manchester City defender Laporte headed in Gerard Moreno’s cross to double Spain’s lead and swift moves in the second half saw Sarabia and Torres finish smartly from close range, before Slovakia’s sluggish performance was compounded by a second own goal.
There were more cheers from the Seville crowd but not for a sixth Spanish goal, rather drama in the other group game as Poland fought back to level from 2-0 down against Sweden with six minutes left.
That would have sent Spain through top of the group, but a 94th-minute winner for Sweden means 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia await.