Piqué scores as De Gea starts

It took some time in coming and that in itself makes a win even sweeter as Piqué scored for Spain following a perfect assist from Iniesta. The player from La Mancha was immense, gliding gracefully around the pitch threading exquisite passes that managed to perforate the Czech wall of six defenders. The team in white practically defended with half a dozen players throughout the bulk of the game with three in the middle and a lone striker hoping to feed on any scraps. He was serviced with long balls in the hope of getting a break and finding support. The game soon developed a pattern with the Czech team defending deep and Spain doing their best to unpick the lock. This is something we should now be used to and a game plan that Spain will face from many opponents in the future. We are feared and we need to be prepared for games such as these.

Sin tituloSpain's midfielder Andres Iniesta runs with the ball during the Euro 2016 group D football match between Spain and Czech Republic

Spain performed well despite not scoring sooner. The goal could have come earlier as Del Bosque's men did create chances but were repelled by Cech, a fine goalkeeper aided by plenty of defenders quick to clear any breaking ball. ‘La Roja’ were well structured with a set-up that facilitated Iniesta and Silva to shine with both showcasing a wide repertoire of their passing game. The only player who seemed out of place was Cesc and I can’t explain why, it’s as if every player knew what was expected of them except him. He’s a player who has failed to deliver his best level with the national team offering little attacking threat and being in defensive areas far too often.

Group D Spain vs Czech RepublicGoalkeeper Petr Cech

I was pleased to see Piqué score. In the column in the past I’ve voiced concerns over mixing the Madrid-Barça rivalry with the national team as it does nothing good. Piqué is an excellent player with Spain not just due to his quality but his commitment to the side. The Toulouse game also saw De Gea start in goal with Del Bosque electing to use Casillas as back-up goalkeeper after a poor World Cup despite the Porto No. 1 being first choice in the qualifying process. Time moves on and De Gea is in excellent form and the future is his despite the weekend that he’s suffered. He had a quiet game but coped admirably on the few times he was called into action. So a decent start to the campaign with few teams in control of a Euro 2016 game to date as were Spain yesterday.

Spain v Czech Republic - Group D: UEFA Euro 2016Pique (R) of Spain celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mate Sergio Ramos during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group D match