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Spain nets two goals in three minutes to lead Croatia at half time

Alvaro Morata Spain Alvaro Morata - The Canadian Press

Spain got goals from Alvaro Morata and Ruiz three minutes apart, and Dani Carvajal added another in the dying seconds to lead Croatia 3-0 at half time in their Group B clash at the UEFA Euro 2024 tournament. 

Spain, ranked eighth in the FIFA World Rankings, and Croatia coming in ranked 10th desperately need an opening-match victory to survive the "Group of Death" in this year's tournament, that also includes ninth-ranked Italy. 

Both teams displayed the quality that earned them their rankings throughout the first half, with Croatia tallying multiple high-danger opportunities. However, Spain were able to convert on two occasions, where Croatia couldn't solve Spanish keeper Unai Simon.

With seconds remaining in stoppage time of the first half, Carvajal was on the receiving end of a perfectly-placed cross in the Croatian crease, and he drilled it home to make it a 3-0 lead.

Directly following the quick pair of goals for Spain, Croatia answered with their strongest opportunity of the game. A Josko Gvardiol was deflected by Simon, and a golden rebound bounced out but Croatia's attacker shot it off the side of the net. 

Spain broke through in the 29th minute, when a Croatian turnover at midfield gave Morata a free run in the opposite direction, and he expertly beat Dominik Livakovic to put Spain on the board.

Just three minutes later, Spain kept the pressure heavy and Ruiz got the final touch at the edge of the crease; his shot took a deflection off a Croatian defender and bounced into the net for Spain's second goal in a three-minute span.

Croatia found their first real attack of the game in the 17th minute, when a foul 10 yards outside of the penalty box gave Luka Modric a try in a dangerous spot, but the Spanish defence was able to clear.

In a battle of heavyweights, Spain dominated pace and possession in the opening 10 minutes, registering multiple good tries on net.