Euro 2024 Wrap: Spain win the European Clasico, England falter while Serbia grab leveller at the death

MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 20: Luka Jovic of Serbia celebrates scoring his team's first goal as players of Slovenia react during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Slovenia and Serbia at Munich Football Arena on June 20, 2024 in Munich, Germany.

MUNICH, GERMANY - JUNE 20: Luka Jovic of Serbia celebrates scoring his team's first goal as players of Slovenia react during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Slovenia and Serbia at Munich Football Arena on June 20, 2024 in Munich, Germany. Credit: Sebastian Widmann - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Thursday saw only one winning result from three matches as Spain defeated the reigning European champions Italy in Gelsenkirchen.  

A second half own goal from Riccardo Calafiori was the difference between the sides in Group B as Spain progress into the knockout stage of Euro 2024.

Spain should have scored in the first half when Pedri and Nico Williams missed guilt edged chances to put La Roja in the lead.

However, Spain finally made the breakthrough in the second half. After good work from the player of the match Williams, who dug out a cross from the left hand side, and Calafiori couldn’t adjust his body enough to avoid putting the ball into his own net.

Italy rallied after the concession of the goal but failed to test Unai Simon in the Spainish net as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to the Euro 2012 winners.

"We knew it would be a very difficult match and what we needed to do,” said Williams to  “We dominated across the board; Italy are an excellent side, but we played very well and deserved to win."

Italian head coach Luciano Spalletti on Italy's defeat stated, "We were sluggish tonight. That's the main reason this happened. We needed to sort things out but the main reason we struggled is because we were sluggish.

Spain was a team tonight and we weren't able to be a team. They deserved to win the match; we were never in the game besides the final 20 minutes."

Spain: Unai Simon; Daniel Carvajal, Robin Le Normand, Aymeric Laporte, Marc Cucurella Saseta; Pedri (Alejandro Baena Rodriguez 71), Rodri, Fabian Ruiz Pena (Mikel Merino 90), Lamine Yamal (Ferran Torres 71), Alvaro Morata (Mikel Oyarzabal 78), Nico Williams (Ayoze Pérez 78);
Subs not used: Álex Remiro, David Raya Martin, Álex Grimaldo, Nacho, Daniel Vivian, Martín Zubimendi, Fermín López, Dani Olmo, José Luis Mato Sanmartín (Joselu), Jesus Navas.
Booked: Rodri (45), Robin Le Normand (69), Daniel Carvajal (90).
Sent off: None.

Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Gionvanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Riccardo Calafiori, Federico Dimarco; Davide Frattesi (Andrea Cambiaso 46), Jorginho (Bryan Cristante 46), Nicolo Barella, Federico Chiesa (Mattia Zaccagni 64), Gianluca Scamacca (Mateo Retegui 64), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Giacomo Raspadori 82);
Subs not used: Guglielmo Vicario, Alex Meret, Matteo Darmian, Gianluca Mancini, Federico Gatti, Raoul Bellanova, Alessandro Buongiorno, Nicoli Fagioli, Michael Folorunsho, Stephan El Shaarawy.
Booked: Gianluigi Donnarumma (15), Bryan Cristante (46).
Sent off: None.

The other two games on Thursday took place in Group C. The first game of the day was between Slovenia and Serbia.

Both sides came into the game looking for their first win in the tournament. After a scoreless first half, Slovenia took the lead in the 69th minute courtesy of Žan Karničnik.

The Slovenians looked like they were about to seal a crucial three points, only for Luka Jovic to equalise late into additional time to grab Serbia a crucial point to keep them in contention to reach the second round.

"We never gave up,” said Serbian coach Dragan Stojković. “We believed in ourselves until the end. We created so many chances but simply could not score for more than 90 minutes.

But we didn't stop, we didn't want to accept losing to Slovenia, and it paid off in the end."

The other game in Group C saw one of the tournament favourites England stumble against Denmark.

A repeat of Euro 2020 semi-final, Harry Kane put the Three Lions into an early lead in Frankfurt after Kyle Walker caught Victor Kristiansen napping, intercepted the ball and his deflected cross found Kane free who made no mistake from six yards out.

However, the Danes found themselves level shortly after. A poor Kane pass into the centre of the park was picked up by Denmark, and Morten Hjulmad’s long range strike beat Jordan Pickford to the delight of the Red Wall behind the goal.

Speaking to the media post-match, England coach Gareth Southgate said, "Clearly that was not as good as we'd have hoped.

At the moment we're not using the ball well enough and there's another level that we need to find. We've got to put pressure on teams better than we have in these two matches. At the moment we're just not flowing as we'd like."

On the continued selection of Trent Alexander Arnold told the BBC, “It is an experiment. We know that we don't have a natural replacement for a Kalvin Phillips, but we're trying some different things. We know at the moment we're not flowing as we'd like, that's for sure.”

Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Joachim Andersen, Anders Christiansen, Jannik Vestergaard; Joakim Maehle Pederson, Morten Hjulmand (Christian Nørgaard 82), Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Victor Kristiansen (Alexander Bah 57), Christian Dannemann Eriksen (Andreas Skov Olsen 82); Jonas Wind (Mikkel Damsgaard 57), Rasmus Winther Højlund (Yussuf Poulsen 67).
Subs not used: Frederik Ronnow, Mads Hermansen, Simon Kjaer, Rasmus Kristensen, Mathias Jattah-Njie Jørgensen, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Mathias Jensen, Kasper Dolberg, Anders Dreyer.
Booked: Jannik Vestergaard (27), Joakim Maehle Pederson (73), Christian Nørgaard (87).
Sent off: None.

England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Addji Guéhi, Kieran Trippier; Trent Alexander-Arnold (Conor Gallagher 54), Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka (Eberechi Eze 69), Jude Bellingham, Philip Foden (Jarrod Bowen 69); Harry Kane (Oliver Watkins 69).
Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson, Joseph Gomez, Lewis Dunk, Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer, Adam Wharton, Ivan Toney, Anthony Gordon, Ezri Konsa Ngoyo.
Booked: Conor Gallagher (62).
Sent off: None.