Spain 3-0 Norway: Player ratings as De la Fuente era kicks off with win

A late double from debutant Joselu handed Spain a 3-0 victory over Norway which was by no means as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest.

Dani Olmo put Spain ahead early on but Norway enjoyed some excellent moments after that and could have easily secured at least a point from the game before Joselu netted twice in quick succession to put the game to bed.

Predictably, Spain stamped their authority on the game almost immediately, and the first goal of the Luis de la Fuente era came 12 minutes in as Alejandro Balde’s low strike across the box was expertly flicked home by Olmo.

Martin Odegaard had an excellent chance to tie things up almost straight after but his strike was well blocked by Nacho, before Fredrik Aursnes saw a volley superbly sent back by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Down the other end, Norway stopper Orjan Nyland matched his counterpart with an impressive low stop to deny Mikel Merino from close range, in what was turning out to be a far more even affair that the hosts had hoped.

Norway pushed and pushed for an equaliser before the first half and had plenty of half-chances to grab one, but Spain managed to hold on to their lead heading into the break.

The Scandinavian pressure continued after the break and Spain had to scramble away off the line after a Nacho clearance threatened to settle in his own net.

As the clock ticked on, Norway began to tire and Spain nearly made them pay as Yeremy Pino charged into the box, only to send his effort fizzing well wide of the post.

However, Norway missed a glorious chance late on as the otherwise-excellent Alexander Sorloth was gifted a free volley at the back post, but he could not keep his effort on target when it looked easier to score.

Spanish nerves were high but debutant Joselu, minutes after coming off the bench, leapt highest to nod home a second goal for La Roja and put to bed any fears of a comeback from Norway.

The striker still had time for a second goal, lashing home from close range to cap off the dream evening for the Espanyol striker.

GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 7/10 – Busier than he’ll have planned to be. Had to make a handful of nice saves.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 6/10 – Pushed Elyounoussi over in the box but avoided any punishment. Regained his composure for a largely solid game.

CB: Nacho Fernandez – 7/10 – Excellent with the ball at his feet and impressive when asked to defend.

CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Another who was busier than he’ll have expected to be. Comfortable when called upon.

LB: Alejandro Balde – 7/10 – Sensational down the left. A major threat going forward and grabbed a deserved assist.

DM: Rodri – 6/10 – Got away with a bit of a nasty challenge on Odegaard early on. Not always comfortable.

DM: Mikel Merino – 6/10 – Not as involved as he perhaps needed to be. Spurned a good chance to add a second goal in the first half.

RM: Dani Olmo – 7/10 – His clever flick in the box made the difference in the first half.

AM: Iago Aspas – 5/10 – Failed to make the most of his opportunity. Struggled to get involved but didn’t impress when he was on the ball.

LM: Gavi – 6/10 – Sensational energy yet again but didn’t offer enough in the final third.

ST: Alvaro Morata – 6/10 – Did pretty much everything apart from play as a striker. Not exactly what was needed but still impactful in other ways.

Substitutes

Dani Ceballos (57′ for Aspas) – 8/10 – Changed the game for Spain by adding some much-needed midfield composure.

Mikel Oyarzabal (57′ for Gavi) – 6/10 – A solid outing without doing anything spectacular.

Yeremy Pino (68′ for Olmo) – 6/10 – Great pressing, which just about made up for a woeful miss.

Joselu (81′ for Morata) – 8/10 – A dream debut. Two pure striker’s goals.

Fabian Ruiz (81′ for Merino) – 7/10 – Provided the assist for Joselu’s first.

Manager

Luis de la Fuente – 6/10 – Spain were on the back foot for more of this game than the stats might suggest. De la Fuente struggled to get his side back on top, although he deserves credit for some inspired substitutions.

GK: Orjan Nyland – 6/10 – Some nice saves early on to keep Norway in the game.

RB: Marcus Pedersen – 6/10 – Had a pretty tough time when it came to matching Balde and Gavi.

CB: Stefan Strandberg – 6/10 – Dragged around a little by Morata but dealt with Spain’s attacking threat reasonably well.

CB: Leo Ostigard – 6/10 – Always busy and had to be alert to deal with Spain’s quick movement.

LB: Birger Meling – 6/10 – Put in a decent shift at both ends of the field.

DM: Patrick Berg – 6/10 – Solid at the base of midfield. A few shaky moments as Spain tried to pass around him but will be satisfied nonetheless.

RM: Sander Berge – 7/10 – Not a natural winger and so his attacking output was limited, but Berge did a nice job of helping out against Balde and Gavi.

CM: Fredrik Aursnes – 7/10 – Really enjoyed himself in midfield. Got forward regularly and caused plenty of problems in the box.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 7/10 – Shook off an early knock to enjoy plenty of bright moments. Didn’t get long in possession but still managed to create some dangerous moves.

LM: Mohamed Elyounoussi – 6/10 – Buzzed around with real energy and enjoyed his battle with Carvajal, although he didn’t always get the final ball right.

ST: Alexander Sorloth – 7/10 – A real problem with his size but also really dangerous movement. Created countless issues for Spain’s defence but should have taken one of his own.

Substitutes

Julian Ryerson (74′ for Pedersen) – 5/10

Jorgen Strand Larsen (74′ for Elyounoussi) – 5/10

Ola Solbakken (74′ for Berge) – 5/10

Fredrik Bjorkan (74′ for Meling) – 5/10

Ole Brynhildsen (86′ for Sorloth) – N/A

Manager

Stale Solbakken – 6/10 – Got his setup absolutely right. Unfortunate to go behind early but watched Norway terrorise Spain for large parts of this game. Perhaps didn’t have the bench strength needed to get over the line.

Player of the match – Dani Ceballos (Spain)

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