Euro 2004

Spain 1 - Russia 0

Spain got the victory they wanted in their opening game of Euro 2004, although it was not as easy as they expected and they only won thanks to a second half strike from substitute Valerón, who had only been on the park for less than a minute when he scored. Following on from Portugal's shock 1-2 defeat at the hands of Greece, Iñaki Sáez's side got off to a lively start, with Morientes and Raúl going close in the opening minutes and Morientes bringing a good save out of Ovchinnkov later on. But gradually they let Russia get back into the game, and Casillas had to be at his best to make saves from Alenichev and Aldonin before the break. Sáez brought on Valerón and Xabi Alonso on the hour mark though, and within seconds the Deportivo midfielder got on the end of Puyol's cross to score. But they couldn't add to their lead after that, and there were some anxious moments before referee Urs Meier blew the final whistle. (12.06.04)

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