Spain U-21 3-0 Netherlands U-21: Morata, Isco and Vazquez clinch top spot in Group B

Chris Kvesa
Spain U-21 3-0 Netherlands U-21: Morata, Isco and Vazquez clinch top spot in Group B

Spain eased past Netherlands 3-0 to claim top spot in Group B at the Under-21 European Championship.

Two early goals by Liga starlets Alvaro Morata and Isco comfortably put Spain's youth selection ahead midway through the first half.

Alvaro Vasquez then secured the third goal late in the match, while Netherlands failed to find a way to recover.

Despite having already secured qualification for the semifinals of the competition before the match, La Roja's coach Julen Lopetegui opted to incorporate big guns Thiago Alcantara, Isco and Morata into the starting XI.

Meanwhile, the Oranje opted for a significantly weakened selection, resting the team's skipper Kevin Strootman as well as in-form strikers Luuk de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum for this encounter.

Early on, the sides looked to be evenly-matched, but Spain was increasingly creating more chances, and was able to open the scoring in the 26th minute.

Pablo Sarabia ran down the right flank and was lucky enough to pick up a poor clearance by the opposition's defense, before laying the ball to the unmarked Morata at the far post, who tapped in to give his side the lead.

And just over five minutes later, Spain added its second when Muniain tore apart the Oranje's back-line with an accurate pass to Isco, who then displayed great composure as he brilliantly dinked the ball over a stunned Marco Bizot.

After the break, Ignacio Chamacho picked up a knock on his ankle and had to be replaced by Asier Illarramendi.

Shortly after, an excellently struck free kick could have easily put Netherlands back into the match, but David de Gea was on hand to deflect it on to the crossbar.

In the 71st minute, Adam Maher was introduced to replace Tonny Vilhena, and almost immediately made an impact as he blasted an effort from the edge of the penalty area towards De Gea's box, but it flew just wide.

However, again Spain was ruthless in attack, as it added a third goal thanks to a tap-in by Vazquez, who came on in the 71th minute to replace Isco and once again displayed his excellent finishing.

With the result, Netherlands moves on to face Italy in the semifinals of the tournament in Israel, while Spain is set to face Norway.

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