UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Gaizka Mendieta: No need for Spain to panic

The former Spain midfielder and EURO2020.com columnist has faith in La Roja but knows they need to keep a close eye on Poland's Robert Lewandowski.

Álvaro Morata and Spain were frustrated by Sweden last time out
Álvaro Morata and Spain were frustrated by Sweden last time out

Sometimes players or teams feel the pressure of the first game at a big tournament like UEFA EURO 2020, especially if there's high expectations or pressure and doubts around the team; I think that's what happened to Spain against Sweden.

Especially in the first half with Pedri and Ferran Torres, players that would normally take the initiative in their club sides were not as on the front foot as you might expect. That type of player might need to dust off the pressure of thinking about the first game early on; certainly, in the second half, it was a bit better.

Koke rues Spain missed chances

Credit to Sweden for the way they defended for 90 minutes and almost scored twice. You need to ask questions of defenders who are defending so well and I don't think we did enough of that in the first half, but overall I'm happy with how we played, and how the team moved the ball around. We created chances, but unfortunately we didn't take any of them.

There's a chance Gerard Moreno and Álvaro Morata could start together against Poland. Moreno has shown at Villarreal he can play with other strikers. He's very mobile and he could also play out wide. Morata could also play out wide and leave Gerard as a No9. Personally, I'd like to see two strikers, but I think Luis Enrique is quite happy with what he saw the other day, so I wouldn't expect too many changes.

Watch Lewandowski score first goal of EURO 2012

A team like Poland are better for us to face, and they have to win, so they'll have to take risks. Robert Lewandowski will require some attention, though. You can't give him anything. A striker like him spends the whole game just waiting for that chance to come his way. The moment he gets some confidence – be it a nice bit of control, a pass or a run – you're already on the losing side. Against Sweden, we let Alexander Isak have a bit of freedom; if you give that to Lewandowski, it could be a different outcome.

How do I see the game going? I was going to say 2-0, but I still give Poland a chance, so I'm going with 2-1 for us.

Download the EURO app