Criticized, mocked … but still decisive: Alvaro Morata, a substitute at the start of the match, only needed eight minutes of play to unlock Spain’s match against Germany on Sunday (1-1) and he pave the way to the round of 16 of the World Cup-2022.
Eight minutes after entering the game in place of Ferran Torres (54th), shortly after the hour mark (62nd), the center forward of Atlético Madrid overflowed Nikla Süle, and cut with the right foot a cross from Jordi Alba at the near post.
A goal celebrated with two angry fists clenched in front of him, and with the whole Spanish bench coming to jump on him: despite the equalizer signed Niclas Füllkrug (83rd), thanks to this draw, La Roja already has a foot in the round of 16.
With this achievement, Morata, elected man of the match, is the third Spaniard to have scored the most goals in the final stages of a Euro or a World Cup. Only David Vill (13) and Fernando Torres (9) exceed the Madrid player (8).
He could have doubled the lead in the 90th, but his foray into the area was countered by the return of Nico Schlotterbeck. And in the 67th, he caused a new murmur to grow in the spans of the al-Bayt stadium, but pushed his ball too far to hope for better.
Tipped to take the place of starting center-forward in place of Marco Asensio, Morata however started the match on the bench on Sunday, as during the ride against Costa Rica on Wednesday (7-0).
Substitute, he came into play (already) in place of Ferran Torres in the 57th minute, and sealed the 7-0 with a goal at the very end of the match (90th + 2).
The forward Spain love to hate
For the 30-year-old centre-forward, history is an eternal beginning.
Luis Enrique’s favorite at the start of the Euro, in the summer of 2021, Morata had started his tournament very badly, missing countless clear chances… Mocked for his clumsiness, mocked for his apparent nonchalance, Morata had always been supported by the Spanish coach.
“There is only one player in the history of La Roja who has scored more goals than (Alvaro) Morata in as many caps, it’s David Villa, who is the top scorer in the history of La Roja. selection. Even Raul, to take another legend, had fewer goals than Morata at the same number of selections, “recalled “Lucho” in the middle of the Euro last summer.
Result: reboosted, Morata ended up being one of the heroes of Spain, a surprise Euro team, by being decisive against Croatia in the round of 16 (5-3 aet) and against Italy in the semi-finals -final (elimination 1-1, 5-3 tab).
And Sunday, rebelote. Doubled in the hierarchy by a Marco Asensio with absent subscribers, it is however the Barcelonan Ferran Torres whom he replaced in the 54th … before reminding the supporters that he still has his place in this rejuvenated Roja.
With 29 goals in 59 caps, Morata, who returned to Atlético Madrid this summer after yet another detour to Italy, is still Luis Enrique’s providential striker.
And despite the constant criticism, Spain knows that it is dealing with a hero. When he was hit in the right ankle with Atlético in the 3-2 defeat in Cadiz at the end of October, the whole country sweated, fearing that he would have to face the World Cup without the striker he loves to hate. .