Dominant Spain warm up in style

Spain 5-2 Norway The UEFA European Under-21 Championship title holders proved too strong for fellow finalists Norway in an entertaining encounter in Toledo.

Christian Tello of Spain in action during their UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off first leg against Denmark
Christian Tello of Spain in action during their UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off first leg against Denmark ©Carmelo Rubio, RFEF

Spain issued a strong statement of intent to the rest of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finalists as they came from behind to beat Norway 5-2.  

The defending champions suffered a scare in the first minute of this friendly encounter in Toledo when Håvard Nielsen opened the scoring. Julen Lopetegui's side quickly responded, though, courtesy of a Cristian Tello double and further strikes from Rodrigo, Sergio Canales and a Jonatan Tollås own goal, while Flamur Kastrati's late consolation proved a minor blot. 

La Rojita qualified for this summer's finals thanks to a convincing 8-1 aggregate play-off victory over Denmark in October but they were not quite as assured in the early stages at the Salto del Caballo. Íñigo Martínez lost possession to Marcus Pedersen who in turn fed Jo Inge Berget, whose shot off the post fell to Nielsen to stroke in. 

Spain countered and were level when Tello netted with a left-footed strike from distance before the FC Barcelona attacker finished off Koke's centre. SL Benfica's Rodrigo increased the hosts' lead in the 16th minute, turning in Iker Muniain's pass from the left for his 13th goal in ten Under-21 appearances.

Spain continued to dominate in the second half as substitute Canales turned in Tello's pass and there was worse to come for Norway with Tollås heading into his own net. With three minutes of the encounter remaining, Kastrati grabbed a consolation, beating the offside trap and slamming past Joel. Both teams continue their finals preparations on Monday with Spain hosting Russia and Norway travelling to the Netherlands.

Spain: Joel; Montoya, Bartra (Amat 61), Íñigo Martínez (Nacho 54), Muniesa (Moreno 69); Koke (Deulofeu 46), Illarramendi (Camacho 54); Tello (Sarabia 61'), Thiago, Muniain (Canales 54); Rodrigo (Álvaro 61).

Norway: Nyland; Linnes, Rogne, Tollås, Skjelvik; Berget (Borven 56), Svensson (Ibrahim 64), Singh; Elabdellaoui, Pedersen, Nielsen (Kastrati 46).