Spain in charge in qualifying quest after beating Sweden

Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring a penalty against Sweden

Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring a penalty against Sweden

Spain made it four wins out of four and took full control of their Euro 2020 qualifying group by seeing off closest challengers Sweden 3-0 at home on Monday (June 10) after overpowering their opponents in the second half.

Striker Alvaro Morata, 26, also scored a spot-kick in Madrid before fellow substitute Mikel Oyarzabal, 22, scored his first global goal.

Ramos converted a 64th-minute penalty kick after a handball by Swedish midfielder Sebastian Larsson following a cross by Spanish forward Marco Asensio.

The victory put Spain at the top of Group F with 12 points, although despite the loss Sweden are in the second spot, tied with Romania at seven points after the latter's 4-0 drubbing of Malta on the road.

Ramos also opened the scoring in a 4-1 win at the Faeroe Islands last week, when the central defender became the player with the most wins with a national team, surpassing the record of 121 previously held by fellow Spaniard Iker Casillas.

Austria thrashed North Macedonia 4-1 to go third while Slovenia crushed Latvia 5-0 to go fourth.

For the third straight game, Luis Enrique was absent and the team was led by assistant coach Robert Moreno. Also in the group are Norway and the Faroe Islands.

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David de Gea was dropped for Kepa Arrizabalaga but it was Sweden's stopper Robin Olsen who was the busier.

Sweden's disciplined defence carried them to the World Cup quarter-finals nearly a year ago and Spain only really rattled them for five minutes in the opening half.

That was the first of four vital saves in as many minutes, as Olsen then parried a goal-bound Parejo volley wide, palmed away Ramos' header from the resulting corner and kept Isco's placed effort out. Spain peppered the Sweden net early on and it looked as though Dani Parejo had put Spain up front with a tap in, but he was deemed offside.

VAR, not in use until the tournament's finals, would surely have intervened.

Spain´s Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring from the spot against Sweden.

But they capitulated late on as Spain added two in the 85th and 87th minutes.

First Morata, on for Asensio, drew a foul from Filip Helander with an aggressive run into the box and, after Ramos deferred, struck the penalty into the corner.

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