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Barcelona’s Ferran Torres scores, Fermín López makes debut as Spain finish perfect Euro 2024 group stage with win over Albania

Barcelona’s largest contingent at Euro 2024 are for now the only remaining perfect side in the tournament as Spain confirmed their status as Group B winners with three wins out of three thanks to a 1-0 victory over Albania in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. Spain were already qualified in first place and changed the entire team to give minutes to youngsters and reserves, but La Roja showed their depth and deservedly got all three points to finish the group stage with a perfect record and three clean sheets.

The first half belonged completely to Spain, who despite all the changes didn’t treat this as a meaningless contest and played with seriousness, professionalism and quality on the ball. La Roja moved it quickly and created several good chances with excellent play in and around the box, with tons of danger also coming on crosses and on the very rare counter-attacking occassions they did have.

Spain were rewarded for their good work just 13 minutes in thanks to a brilliant pass by Dani Olmo and a perfect left-footed finish from Barça’s Ferran Torres, who was hungry to keep adding to his tally and was involved in more dangerous attacks. Spain could have easily scored two or three more goals, but had to settle for just the one-goal lead at halftime.

Albania were desperate for a way back in the game in the second half but couldn’t create any meaningful chances while Spain continued to dominate the ball and cruise through the game, and at the hour mark came the chance for Barça youngster Fermín López to make his competitive Spain debut at the senior level.

Armando Broja finally brought the game to life with a shot on target that required a good save from David Raya, and Albania were finally in the contest as they began sending more bodies forward trying to find an equalizer. Luis de la Fuente sensed Spain needed more quality up front to make sure of the win and replaced Ferran with Lamine Yamal, with Álvaro Morata also coming on for the final 20 minutes.

Yamal saw the ball plenty of times and was his usual bright dangerous self, while Fermín showed the same hunger and intensity we see at Barça but without the same end product. Spain couldn’t put the game away as we reached the dying moments, and Albania sensed a chance to rescue a point.

The Eagles had a few late chances with Broja coming close a couple of times, but Spain held on to their clean sheet and the final whistle came to confirm their victory and a perfect group stage for La Roja, who are now firmly one of the favorites ahead of the knockout stages. Their best players will be fully rested, the defense will be more confident after three clean sheets in three games, and absolutely no one will want to face Spain in Euro 2024.

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