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Czech Republic 2-2 Spain: Iñigo Martínez rescues point for Spain

Iñigo Martínez scored late on to deny the Czech Republic a first ever win over Spain in an entertaining Group A2 clash.

Highlights: Czech Republic 2-2 Spain

Goals at the end of either half proved vital as Spain twice came from behind to deny the Czech Republic victory in Prague.

Key moments

4' Pešek puts Czechs ahead
45' Gavi brings Spain level
61' Asensio thumps post
66' Kuchta chips Czechs back in front
69' Ferran Torres heads against upright
90' Iñigo Martínez grabs late leveller

Match in brief: Spain leave it late

The home side made a rapid start and were rewarded in just the fourth minute when Jan Kuchta beat the offside trap and teed up Jakub Pešek for the opener.

Spain dominated the rest of the half, but it took them until stoppage time to level, thanks to a fine finish from Gavi, who collected Rodri's pass and swept the ball into the far corner.

Gavi celebrates becoming Spain's youngest scorer
Gavi celebrates becoming Spain's youngest scorerAFP via Getty Images

It was more of the same in the second half, and substitute Marco Asensio thudded a shot against the post, but his side were stunned when Kuchta went through and brilliantly chipped in to restore the lead.

Ferran Torres headed against the same post Asensio had struck and just as it looked as though the home side were going to hold on, Iñigo Martínez headed in via the crossbar to earn his side a point.

As it happened: Czech Republic 2-2 Spain


Ondřej Zlámal, match reporter

Jan Kuchta put the Czech Republic 2-1 up
Jan Kuchta put the Czech Republic 2-1 up AFP via Getty Images

Teamwork and commitment were crucial for the Czech Republic as they earned another superb result. They worked hard in defence and scored two beautiful goals – Kutcha's delicate finish is another legendary chip in the history of the nation. Spain pressed after twice falling behind but only managed two goals, one late in either half. They did hit the woodwork twice too, so Czech prophecies about needing a bit of luck just about came true on a night to remember in Prague.

Reaction

Jaroslav Šilhavý, Czech Republic coach: "The players worked hard. I think our tactics were right. It was a bit defensive, but I don't think we could have approached this game any other way and the players felt it the same. I have to say that even in my dreams I wouldn't have imagined we'd have four points after two games in this group. Tomáš Souček said we are disappointed after a draw against Spain: that says it all."

Iňigo Martínez, Spain defender: "I'm glad I scored but I'm still disappointed we didn't win. There must be more focus from us. I felt the Czechs were more prepared to play against us than we were to face them."

Jakub Pešek (right) vies for the ball with Eric García
Jakub Pešek (right) vies for the ball with Eric GarcíaAFP via Getty Images

Jakub Pešek, Czech Republic midfielder: "We can all be proud of the result we achieved tonight. We were perfectly prepared for the match. We knew that we would play a lot without the ball but also have chances to counterattack. I am glad I scored after one of them."

Key stats

  • At 17 years and 304 days, Gavi becomes Spain's youngest scorer, beating the record of his Barcelona team-mate Ansu Fati by seven days.
  • The Czech Republic had only scored one goal in their five previous games against Spain.
  • Spain have scored in each of their last 16 international matches.
  • The Czech Republic drew a Nations League match for the first time (W8 L4).
  • The Czech Republic have scored inside the opening 18 minutes in six of their seven Nations League home games

Line-ups

Czech Republic: Vaclík; Zima, Brabec, Matějů; Coufal, Sadílek, Souček, Zelený (Jankto 24, Havel 46); Pešek (Hložek 59), Kuchta (Jurečka 78), Lingr (Černý 59)

Spain: Unai Simón; Carvajal, Eric García, Iñigo Martínez, Alonso; Gavi, Rodri (Sergio Busquets 61), Koke (Marcos Llorente 72); Sarabia (Ferran Torres 46), De Tomás (Morata 61), Olmo (Asensio 61)

Group 2 Live now

Played P Won W Draws D Lost L For Against Goal difference Points Pts
ESP Spain
Playing now
4 2 2 0 6 3 3 8
POR Portugal
Playing now
4 2 1 1 7 2 5 7
CZE Czech Republic
Playing now
4 1 1 2 4 7 -3 4
SUI Switzerland
Playing now
4 1 0 3 2 7 -5 3

What happens after the UEFA Nations League group stage?

The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023, with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.

The teams finishing fourth in the groups in Leagues A will be relegated to League B for the 2024/25 edition.