Spain 6-0 Germany
Given this was a meeting between two of the giants of international football meant it was always likely to be a fascinating battle.
Given this was a Spanish shoot-off with a semi-final place at stake meant it was always likely there would be UEFA Nations League highlights.
What no-one truly expected was that top spot in Nations League Group A4 in Seville would be decided in such one-sided fashion.
Highlights of the game
The SBOTOP Nations League betting odds edged towards a Spanish victory, despite them losing top spot in a dramatic 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Saturday night.
For the hosts, Rodri and Sergio Canales were given starts – although the latter had to depart the fray with an injury after just 12 minutes – while coach Luis Enrique retained his faith in goalkeeper Unai Simon, restored Jose Luis Gaya to the starting XI and retained faith in a youthful attacking outfit with Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo either side of Juventus striker Alvaro Morata.
It was to reap great dividends as Torres netted a hat-trick after Morata scored the opener, Simon kept a clean sheet and Gaya and Olmo played key parts with three assists.
For Germany, without Jonas Hofmann and Robin Gosens, Julian Brandt made the bench, while goalkeeper Manuel Neuer won his 96th cap.
It was to be a night the experienced shot-stopper will want to forget.
Four times during the first half the ball ended up in the back of his net – one was disallowed for offside (there was no VAR) – as Spain ran riot.
Morata thumped home the opener, heading in Fabian Ruiz’s inswinging corner before Torres smashed in a rebound after Olmo headed onto the bar.
Another Ruiz delivery was flicked home superbly by Rodri as the contest was over by the break.
The only downside for the home side was the departure of skipper Sergio Ramos with a hamstring injury.
In the second half the onslaught continued as Torres rammed home his second from close range after a good Spanish break down the left.
Ruiz completed a hat-trick of assists to set up Torres’ treble as he rifled a beautiful first-time shot past Neuer from 20 yards before Mikel Oyarzabal’s tap-in made it 6-0 at the death.
Whether this spells the death knell of Joachim Low’s career as German manager remains to be seen.
He couldn’t have been solely responsible for their abysmal defending tonight but the truth remains that, even though he has guided the nation to Euro 2020, they still seem haunted from their shock elimination at the 2018 World Cup group stages.
Ranked 13th in the world, Low’s team were not just defeated for the first time in 13 games but were demolished.
If he is to guide the team as a swansong at next year’s rearranged European Championships, then the German FA must have more faith in him than his players showed in Sevilla.
Torres has become the first ever player to score a hat-trick for Spain in a game against Germany.
Aged 20 years and 262 days, he also became the youngest player to score a brace for Spain since Ramos against San Marino in October 2005 (19 years, 196 days).
Spain have not lost any of their 11 internationals with Gaya (won nine, drawn three).
Olmo has one goal and two assists during his first eight appearances for Spain.
These sides are evenly matched in competitive meetings with four wins each and three draws.
By winning his 96th cap, Neuer surpassed Sepp Maier as the national team record appearance holder by a German goalkeeper.
Philipp Max became the 111th player to make his debut for Germany under Low.
The UEFA Nations League final tournament takes place from October 6-10, 2021. Of course, both nations will be in action before then and will return to competitive action in the spring in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.
As it stands though, Spain’s next official scheduled match will be at the delayed Euro 2020 against Sweden on June 14 next year, whereas Germany will meet World Champions France a day later.
Whether Low will still be in charge then is debatable!
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