Football Features

Spain 4-1 Georgia: La Roja set up mouthwatering Germany clash after complete Nico Williams display

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:50, 30 June 2024

Spain booked their place in the Euro 2024 quarterfinals after surviving a scare against tournament underdogs and feel-good story Georgia in Cologne this evening.

William Sagnol’s men were still fresh after producing the biggest upset in European Championship history when they ran out as 2-0 winners over Portugal to seal passage into the knockout phase.

It seemed that another Iberian nation would fall at their feet, but Luis de la Fuente’s side regrouped to claim a resounding 4-1 victory, which means they will face hosts Germany in the next round.

Having not conceded a goal at Euro 2024, the Spaniards went behind through Robin Le Normand’s own goal. However, an equaliser was forthcoming as they laid siege to Giorgi Mamardashvili’s penalty area. That leveller came in the 39th minute when Rodri netted his first goal at a major tournament.

Spain would have 15 more shots than Georgia in the first half (17 for, two against), the joint-biggest difference in the first half of a game at the European Championship on record (since 1980), along with the Netherlands versus Latvia in 2004.

La Roja, with their red and yellow tails up, were in no mood to waste any time. They went ahead six minutes after the break when Lamine Yamal lifted a beautiful ball to the edge of the six-yard box, where Fabian Ruiz was on hand to head it in.

Yamal became the first teenager to assist multiple goals in a European Championship edition since Cristiano Ronaldo in Euro 2024. As for Ruiz, he scored three goals in his last four games for Spain after only netting once across 22 previous appearances.

Unfortunately, this became a bridge too far for tournament darlings Georgia, who had been relentlessly beaten into submission by Spain. Hopes of a twist were dashed after Williams controlled a long ball pinged out to him on the left before smashing a shot just under the crossbar.

This was the second time he scored and assisted in a game for Spain, with the other also coming against Georgia in September 2023, and more impressive is the fact Williams became the first player on record at the European Championship (since 1980) to score a goal, assist a goal, and complete 100% of his passes (46/46) in a game he started.

There was plenty of time for Dani Olmo to score Spain’s fourth goal, completing a dominant performance — the biggest margin of victory by a team who conceded the opening goal in a game at the European Championship — that surely struck fear into their opponents.

Many would argue that Spain have been the most impressive team at Euro 2024, and this comeback further solidifies their argument. To put their relentless streak in context, they produced 13 shots on target in this game, three more than England managed in their last three matches.

It is a well-rounded team with match-winners in both the forward and midfield positions. Rodri was outstanding in midfield, while Williams and Ruiz posed a continuous threat on the left side. Pedri and Yamal were equally formidable on the opposite flank.

Spain vs Germany is a final in all but name. Given this championship’s structure, we’re getting this fixture way too early. That being said, chances are whoever survives the Stuttgart duel will be expected to reach Berlin and be favourites to win a fourth European crown.