Spain achieves a spectacular victory over Portugal to advance
Álvaro Morata scored a spectacular winner as Spain beat Portugal in Braga to qualify for the Nations League final.
The former Chelsea striker scored in the 88th minute from close range after Nico Williams headed the ball into his path.
Portugal needed just a point to progress and had chances to score, but Liverpool’s Diogo Jota and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo both missed.
At the end of June, Spain will be joined by Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands, who are expected to host all the matches.
Portugal started the night top of Group A2 and will be wondering how they failed to book their place at next summer’s four-nation tournament.
They had won the inaugural competition in 2018-19 and were the better team for most of the game in northern Portugal.
An excellent pass from Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes was collected by Jota, who shot at goal but was denied by a good one-handed save from Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon.
The home side continued to create the better chances with Fernandes hitting the side netting and Ronaldo having a shot blocked by Simon early in the second half.
Substitute Williams, who plays for Athletic Bilbao, made the difference for Spain and had two efforts saved by Diogo Costa.
But the Portuguese goalkeeper was beaten with just two minutes remaining when Williams’ header went wide with Morata tapping the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Spain finished as runners-up in the 2021 Nations League final and now have the chance to win the tournament in June.
- 22Meireles da Costa
- 20I cancel
- 4Ruben Dias
- 5Tavares MendesBooked at 83 minutes
- 18snowsReplaced bydroughtat 89′minutesBooked 90 minutes
- 14Guillem CarvalhoReplaced byfrom Conceição Leãoat 78′minutes
- 10Bernard SilvaBooked at 46 minutesReplaced byJoao Marioat 73′minutes
- 8Bruno Fernandes
- 21JotaReplaced byVitinhaat 79′minutes
- 7Cristiano Ronaldo
- 1Rui Patricio
- 3Embaló Djaló
- 6Lobo Alves Palhinha Gonçalves
- 9by Luz Horta
- 12Malheiro de Sá
- 15from Conceição Leão
- 17Joao Mario
- 19Mario Rui
- 20CarvajalBooked 55 minutes away
- 12GuillamónBooked in 31 minutesReplaced bySearchat 45′minutes
- 19solerReplaced byGonzalezat 60′minutes
- 8CokeReplaced byPaez Gaviraat 60′minutes
- 11TowersReplaced byWilliamsat 73′minutes
- 22HailReplaced bypine treeat 61′minutes
- 9Paez Gavira
- 10I agree
- 15pine tree
- Daniele Orsato
End of match, Portugal 0, Spain 1.
End of second half, Portugal 0, Spain 1.
João Félix (Portugal) has been shown a yellow card for dangerous play.
José Gayà (Spain) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by João Félix (Portugal).
Danilo Pereira (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the right side of the box. Assisted by João Cancelo.
Offside, Spain. Pedri tried a deep pass but Nico Williams was in an offside position.
Change, Portugal. João Félix replaces Rúben Neves
Goal! Portugal 0, Spain 1. Álvaro Morata (Spain) left footed shot from very close range to the center of the goal. Assisted by Nico Williams with a header.
Corner, Spain. Corner taken by Nuno Mendes.
Foul by Daniel Carvajal (Spain).
Nuno Mendes (Portugal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Nico Williams (Spain) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Busquets.
Nuno Mendes (Portugal) has been shown a yellow card.
Álvaro Morata (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nuno Mendes (Portugal).
Gavi (Spain) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Rúben Neves (Portugal).