Lamine Yamal and Pedri shine as Spain beat Croatia in Euro 2024 opener

Barcelona's young superstars Pedri and Lamine Yamal have been at the heart of Spain's excellent start to Euro 2024. The Red won 3-0 against Croatia in their high-profile Group B opener on Saturday in Berlin.

Spain started the game dominating the ball as they usually do, Yamal getting involved early and often on the right wing while Pedri played like a true number 10 and made runs throughout the final third looking to find spaces and combine with his teammates.

Croatia mostly defended and avoided major danger in the first 25 minutes, and slowly began to build into the match as their big midfield trio became more involved in the action.

The fight was as close as expected at the half-hour mark, but five minutes of Spanish genius changed everything: first, a fantastic through ball from Fabián Ruiz and a very composed finish from Álvaro Morata, and five minutes later, Pedri found Fabián who scored a sensational solo goal to double Spain's lead.

Croatia then created and missed three huge chances to get back into the game, and were punished just before half-time when Yamal produced a spectacular cross to help Dani Carvajal's hat-trick. The Redand seems to end the competition at the break.

The start of the second half was wild, with Yamal denying a historic goal thanks to a brilliant save from Dominik Livakovic and Spain somehow stopping Croatia thanks to a goal-line clearance from Marc Cucurella and a superb save from Unai Simón, all in the first 10 minutes. of the period.

Pedri's fantastic performance ended on the hour mark when he was replaced by Dani Olmo, and the match entered a lull as both coaches began to make substitutions with their upcoming matches in mind of group. Neither team seemed too interested in scoring a goal, and it looked like we were in for a boring ending.

Then, Unai Simón made a mistake 10 minutes from time, which led to Rodri's penalty on Bruno Petkovic, which was saved by Simón but ended up in the net as Petkovic scored a tap-in after 'Ivan Perisic grabbed the rebound first. The goal was ruled out, however, due to an encroachment on Perisic, and Spain's clean sheet remained intact.

A third Barça player came on at the end as Ferran Torres replaced Yamal five minutes from time. Ferran was as aggressive as usual and tried to land a few late shots, but no further goals ever came and Spain reached the finish line.

The final whistle came to end an impressive victory for The Red, who started his journey in the toughest group of the tournament with three big points and a very good offensive performance. Their defensive vulnerabilities could be exploited by better teams later in the tournament, but they clearly showed they can score against anyone.

Yamal was spectacular to the surprise of absolutely no one despite his age, and Pedri had a brilliant game himself. These two will no doubt be involved in whatever good Spain does in Germany over the next month, and The Red undoubtedly made quite a statement.

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