The Under-21 European Championships got underway on Wednesday evening, with reigning champions Spain kickstarting their campaign with victory over Slovenia, while nine-man Italy were held to a draw by the Czech Republic.
Elsewhere, Germany picked up all three points against Hungary, while the Netherlands and Romania played out a 1-1 draw.
Let’s take a look at the best of the action.
Spain are currently top Group B thanks to a convincing 3-0 victory Slovenia. After the first half finished goalless, Spain’s dominance in possession was finally rewarded in the 53rd minute, Espanyol’s Javi Puado emphatically slamming home a half volley from the edge of the area.
Less than two minutes after breaking the deadlock, Spain added a second. Having provided the cross in the build up to his side’s opening goal, Getafe’s Marc Cucurella was again the architect as his pass was effortlessly turned home by Roma’s Gonzalo Villar from a near identical position to Puado following a slick Spain move.
Victory was wrapped up one minute from time, and again the goal came from the left flank. Manu Garcia and Juan Miranda exchanged passes, and the left back cooly slotted home.
Elsewhere in Group B, Italy were held to a 1-1 draw by the Czech Republic, the Italians finishing the game with nine players.
Italy had led in the first half through Gianluca Scamacca, the striker rounding Martin Jedlicka in the Czech Republic goal and slotting into an empty net, before this was cancelled out by a Giulio Maggiore own goal 15 minutes from time.
Sandro Tonali was then shown a straight red for kicking out at Ondrej Sasinka as the pair tussled on the touchline, and Riccardo Marchizza was given his marching orders in second half stoppage time for a second bookable offence.
Meanwhile in Group A, the shares were spoiled between Romania and the Netherlands.
The Netherlands, making their first appearance at the tournament since 2013, were headed in front after 16 minutes through Peter Schuurs. However, they were pegged back four minutes later via a stunning Andrei Ciobanu free kick as proceedings finished all square.
Germany got their group stage campaign off to a winning start with victory over Hungary to leave them top of Group A.
Hungary defended resolutely for the first hour, but their resistance was finally broken through a header from Manchester City’s Lukas Nmecha. Five minutes later Germany had a second, Bote Baku turning home from close range.
Baku added his second and Germany’s third 17 minutes from time with a poacher’s finish after Mergim Berisha’s effort had clattered the woodwork.