Spain start with win but look ill-equipped for title defence
(Gerard Pique 87)
CZECH REPUBLIC 0
Spain's lack of finishing prowess up front threatens to derail their Euro 2016 campaign even as they carved out a winning start on Monday (June 13).
The 1-0 victory, courtesy of a late header by Gerard Pique, over Czech Republic in Toulouse left them looking like anything but contenders.
Unless coach Vicente del Bosque can turn his goal-shy forwards into prolific marksmen overnight, the defending European champions face another campaign of disappointment.
With a dearth in proven goal-scorers at his disposal, the Spain boss has been searching for the right formula for years.
Against the Czechs, del Bosque went for three up front, which consisted of David Silva and recognised forwards Alvaro Morata and Nolito.
Evidently though, quantity isn't the solution here.
Morata's mediocre display in the middle culminated in his substitution in the 65th minute, when he was replaced by 35-year-old striker Aritz Aduriz.
On the left, Nolito spent the entire game trying to grapple with Czech Republic's offside trap.
While Silva offered more purpose and drive, he was never much of a direct goal threat to begin with.
Eventually, a centre back showed them the way.
Pique, venturing upfield to lend some last-minute aerial help, leapt highest to nod home unmarked three minutes from time to deliver the three points.
But there was nothing much to savour here.
In fact, this is a stern warning of what is to come.