Denmark's vanquishers at both the last UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup, Spain once again proved too good in both teams' opening fixture of EURO '88.
A hat-trick of major tournament triumphs rarely looked in doubt in Hannover. Denmark coach Josef Piontek put Jan Heintze on Míchel but was unable to prevent the Spanish schemer from scoring the first goal and running the game. Though Denmark drew level, Emilio Butragueño and Rafael Gordillo gave Spain a two-goal lead before Flemming Povlsen halved the arrears eight minutes from time.
It took just five minutes for Míchel to find his stride, trading passes with Butragueño and Ricardo Gallego before shooting across goalkeeper Troels Rasmussen. Michael Laudrup's sleight of foot and firm drive levelled the scores, but Spain were in control throughout and could even afford for Míchel's penalty to be saved by Rasmussen.
Miguel Muñoz Mozún's charges duly restored their advantage eight minutes into the second half, however, Butragueño turning in José María Bakero's pass. With Frank Arnesen out injured and Preben Elkjær deployed too far forward to make the most of his powerful surges, Denmark were constantly on the defensive. Rafael Gordillo's free-kick doubled their deficit and though Povlsen's header gave Denmark a sniff, Spain had done enough.