Spain 5-0 Cyprus: When it Spains, it pours for sluggish Cypriots


Luis de la Fuente’s Spain made light work of Cyprus in Granada to notch their 24th consecutive UEFA European Championship Qualifying victory at home, leaving the White and Blues still pointless at the bottom of Group A, reports.

Although the trumpeter at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes was struggling to hold a tune, De la Fuente’s hosts had no such trouble, and Cyprus immediately set up their low block in anticipation of what was to come. Sure enough, Spain were up and running with less than 20 minutes on the clock, as Nico Williams used his searing pace to reach the left byline and pick out Gavi, who finished confidently on the volley.

Williams was a constant threat for La Furia Roja, and he once again proved too hot to handle when the precocious Lamine Yamal played him beyond the last line of defence, only for the Athletic Club star to spurn his one-on-one chance. All was forgotten moments later when Williams notched his second assist of the game with a perfect cross for Mikel Merino, who emphatically headed in his first international goal.

Álvaro Morata then looked to have capped off an utterly dominant first period by turning in the rebound from Yamal’s crossbar-bound effort, but a belated offside call kept Cyprus within two.

Staying within touching distance will have been encouraging for the visitors, who sit 108 places below Spain in FIFA’s world rankings, but with Cyprus waiting until well beyond the hour mark to register their first shot on goal, the size of the buffer was never a source of concern for those in red.

After temporarily taking their foot off the gas, a succession of Spanish substitutions saw them go for the jugular with four goals in just 13 minutes. Joselu kick-started the attacking frenzy by heading in a sumptuous cross from Dani Carvajal, whose crafty one-two with Ferran Torres led to Spain’s fourth.

Joselu then turned provider, measuring an exquisite backheel to set up debutant Álex Baena for a simple finish, and Torres finally completed the rout with a clinical touch and strike after Rodri’s ball over the top.

Spain must now look towards a crunch qualifying clash with table-toppers Scotland next month, and only a victory will do to retain realistic hopes of clinching Group A.

Another defeat for Cyprus means that their winless run will now extend beyond 12 months, and any lingering aspirations of reaching a first-ever major tournament this time around are now effectively over.


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