With wind in our sails

Before kick-off there was good news; the Czech Republic and Croatia had drawn. That cleared the way for Spain to top the group and it made Turkey’s situation a little less desperate. Good news all round. With this the match began and almost immediately Sergio Ramos had one of his ‘moments’ which cost him a yellow. Hopefully there would be nothing else bad. Spain started to deploy their game around Iniesta, the fleeting shadow, able to escape from everything – including the Azerbaijani algorithm. Spain were better, they are better, but the question was whether or not this time we were going to have to wait long for the goal.

Sergio Ramos shown an early yellow by referee Milorad Mazic

But no, we didn’t wait long. These days the team work on movement, getting into the right positions and the finish. And, it’s important to note, the Turkish penalty area wasn’t filled with bodies and cement quite like that of the Czechs. So this was different. Spain built momentum up front, moved the Turkish defense around and scored past Babacan, twice before the break and another just after. Morata, Nolito and Morata again. Three goals and the game done and dusted with almost half of it still remaining. Spain qualify for the last 16 comfortably, as well as gaining some prestige.

Alvaro Morata heads in the opening goal after a beautiful ball in from strike partner Nolito.

Del Bosque then chose to rest some of his stars. Bruno replaced Silva, adding extra cover with a holding midfielder, something that AS journalist Joaquín Maroto suggested would happen at times. Later came Koke for Cesc and Azpilicueta for Jordi Alba. It was a time to play down the clock and relieve any tension. That’s right, Iniesta stayed on, giving another footballing lesson. His counterpart was Arda Turan, so lazy it was funny. Whistled at by his own fans, applauded by the Spaniards. What with one thing or another the game coasted to its conclusion and, pleasingly for us, we see the national team with wind in its sails, just like that pirate ship, ‘The Dreaded’.

Andres Iniesta, still the master.