Madrid: Spain pounded Sweden 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium here, continuing its unerring course toward the 2020 European Cup in a match showing the leadership and efficacy of team captain Sergio Ramos, who got his team on the board first, albeit not until the 64th minute.
On Monday, it was Spain’s fourth win in four matches, and with the victory they are in clear control of their European Cup qualifying group.
The Spaniards simply dominated the Swedes all the way through, but really came into their own in the second half on two penalty kicks in the 64th and 85th minutes, whereby Ramos and Alvaro Morata got the team on the board, and an 87th-minute wonderful curving tally into the bottom corner of the net by substitute Mikel Oyarzabal for the final result.
This was Ramos’s seventh goal in eight internationals, coming after Sweden’s Sebastian Larsson blocked the ball with his arm and on the penalty kick Ramos faked out goaltender Robin Olsen.
Morata’s penalty kick came after he was tripped by Filip Helander.
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The victory put Spain at the top of Group F with 12 points, although despite the loss Sweden are in the second spot, tied with Romania at seven points after the latter’s 4-0 drubbing of Malta on the road. Also in the group are Norway and the Faroe Islands.
The Spaniards had thought that they had gone ahead in the first half after Rodrigo knocked in a cross from Dani Parejo but the score was wrongly ruled out for offside, although had video technology been available – as it is not in the qualifiers – the goal would have counted.
Spain played a fine game, albeit without much sparkle until Oyarzabal stepped up with his fabulous shot just three minutes before the end of regulation time.
Spain’s coach Luis Enrique was not present at the match for personal reasons, but after the match members of the team expressed pride that they had been able to win one for him.