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Spain ease past Turkey in Group D to reach EURO 2016 knockout phase

Spain 3-0 Turkey
Vicente del Bosque's men made it two wins and as many clean sheets in Group D, sealing their place in the knockout stage of UEFA EURO 2016.

EURO 2016 highlights: Spain 3-0 Turkey
  • Spain join Italy and France in the round of 16 after dominating against Turkey
  • Nolito delivers for Álvaro Morata to glance in the opener after 34 minutes
  • Nolito soon doubles the lead; Morata taps in the third in the second half

Álvaro Morata and Nolito continued their fine form as Spain sealed qualification from UEFA EURO 2016 Group D by breezing past Turkey.

EURO 2016: All you need to know

The former's second of the night was his fourth in his last three internationals, while Nolito's strike that doubled the Spanish advantage after 37 minutes made it five in his past five outings for the holders. 

Fatih Terim said in Thursday's press conference that a team cannot take on La Roja "without trying to actually play" themselves. Spain, however, afforded them little chance to do so.

The breakthrough arrived following a foray by Jordi Alba. The left-back checked back and fed Nolito, whose cross was glanced in by Juventus ace Morata. Provider swiftly turned scorer, the Celta Vigo forward punishing Mehmet Topal's miscued header with a scuffed, first-time finish.  

Further damage was forthcoming three minutes into the second period. Andrés Iniesta found Alba with a delicious threaded pass in behind and he laid on the simplest of finishes for Morata.

Man of the match: Andrés Iniesta
Another majestic midfield contribution from Spain's No6 which consisted, among other highlights, of 93 completed passes, 40 of which were in the final third, and the invention of three decent chances.

Burak against the wall 
Drafted in to beef up a Turkey attack that has mustered only seven goals in 2016, Burak Yılmaz cut an isolated figure. The Beijing Guoan striker, cautioned early on, had a thankless task up against Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué. Turkey's 4-3-3 was, in effect, a 4-5-1, meaning he was their only 'out ball'.

History to repeat itself?
Whatever happened this evening, Turkey's fate was always going to be decided on matchday three against Czech Republic. If, after reading that, you think you are experiencing a sense of déjà vu then you are not mistaken – in 2008 in Geneva, Nihat Kahveci struck twice late on against the Czechs for a side coached then, as now, by Terim. 

That unlikely 3-2 victory in the teams' last group game took Turkey through at their opponents' expense. A EURO classic. Will we witness another in Lens on Tuesday?

Obstinate Spain
Consistency, in terms of performance and selection, is one word that applies to Spain's rearguard. Three of the defence – Alba, Piqué and Ramos – played every minute of the 2012 triumph. The three-time winners went into this encounter having kept a clean sheet in each of their last six EURO finals matches, while their run of minutes without conceding in competitive fixtures now stands at an impressive 903.

Morata: It was an almost complete performance

Reporters' views from Stade de Nice
Graham Hunter, Spain (@BumperGraham)
Kudos to Vicente del Bosque. He opted for Morata and Nolito in the first place and kept faith despite no goals from them in the opening game. And, hey presto: reward for vision and patience.

Nolito was repaid for his craft and craftiness. Morata got his due not only for his hard work and ability but for his absolute faith in the fact that whenever Ramos uses the clippers to scalp him the goals start to flow. Who'd really argue with that theory now?

Cetin Cem Yilmaz, Turkey (@UEFAcomCetinCY)
This was Turkey's poorest showing in almost two years, since a 4-0 friendly loss to Brazil, and unfortunately it came on one of the biggest stages. Terim's men actually started with intensity, yet it only lasted about half an hour and when they ran out of legs, so the goals came. Spain's passing, movement and technique was too much.

EURO 2016: Team of the Tournament
Turkey line up in Nice
Turkey line up in NiceGetty Images


Spain: De Gea; Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos (c), Alba (Azpilicueta 81); Busquets, Fàbregas (Koke 71), Iniesta, D. Silva (Soriano 64); Nolito, Morata
Substitutes: Casillas, Rico, Bartra, Vázquez, Pedro, Bellerín, Thiago, San José, Aduriz
Coach: Vicente del Bosque

Turkey: Babacan; Gönül, Topal, Balta, Erkin; Ozan Tufan, İnan (Mallı 70), Özyakup (Şahan 62), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Şahin 46); Turan (c), Yılmaz
Substitutes: Kıvrak, Tekin, Kaya, Çalik, Cenk Tosun, Köybaşi, Şen, Mor, Ozbayrakli
Coach: Fatih Terim

Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)