Spain started life under new coach Luis de La Fuente with a 3-0 victory over Norway in their opening 2024 European Championship qualifier
Spain’s quest for a record-breaking eighth consecutive European Championships participation got off to an auspicious start under new coach Luis de la Fuente, as the three-time Euro champions cruised to a 3-0 win against Norway, courtesy of strikes from Dani Olmo and Joselu.
Spain supporters were hopeful for a fresh beginning under new coach Luis de la Fuente following their team’s winless streak and frustrating FIFA World Cup exit to Morocco, and they were rewarded with a quick start as Dani Olmo’s clever finish from Alejandro Balde’s cross gave Spain an early lead, a significant moment considering Spain’s flawless record when scoring first in home Euro qualifiers since June 1995.
Despite some expectations for Spain to dominate from the start, Norway proved to be a resilient opponent and even had two clear opportunities in the first half, with captain Martin Ødegaard’s confident left-footed shot being blocked by Nacho.
Norway’s Fredrik Aursnes almost leveled the game before halftime with a well-placed back-post volley that was denied by Kepa Arrizabalaga’s impressive reflex save, and although the second half was a cagey affair with few chances, Alexander Sørloth missed Norway’s best opportunity of the night in the closing stages by directing a close-range volley off target.
Joselu’s long-awaited international debut turned into a dream come true as he scored two goals in two minutes to seal Spain’s victory, first with an expertly placed header into the far corner and then with a close-range finish, adding an extra touch of flair to the final scoreline, which somewhat flattered Spain over a resilient Norway side.
Although the winning margin might not come as a surprise to Spain, as they were favorites to win Group A, Norway’s defeat served as a reminder that they will have a tough battle to secure the second qualifying spot, with both teams set to play their next games on Tuesday, with Spain facing joint-leaders Scotland, while Norway takes on Georgia.