Luis de la Fuente apologized for his slight delay at the post-match press conference, explaining he had encountered a few roundabouts on his way. Nonetheless, he emphasized that his team took a straightforward path to victory over Croatia, showcasing Spain’s ability to “damage opponents in many different ways.”

The coach of the national team called for Spain to acknowledge the talent of what he described as a “brilliant generation” of “insatiable” players. Three first-half goals secured a 3-0 win over Croatia in the opening Group B game in Berlin.

Interestingly, Spain’s win came despite having less possession than their opponents for the first time in 16 years – or perhaps because of it. De la Fuente’s shift in strategy paid off. “In the past, more possession often guaranteed better results, but now we can surprise teams like we did today,” De la Fuente said. “The importance of possession depends on the results. We used the ball very effectively and were decisive in our attacks. We have shown that we don’t need to dominate possession if we can use our speed.”

Álvaro Morata, Fabián Ruiz, and Dani Carvajal scored the goals, but Morata and Rodri were substituted after picking up knocks. Spain’s next match is against Italy on Thursday. Croatia was awarded a penalty in the second half, but although Bruno Petkovic scored from the rebound, it was disallowed for encroachment as Ivan Perisic had entered the penalty area before the kick.

De la Fuente continued, “We have the ability to impose our style. Our high press allowed us to regain possession quickly. One of Spain’s strengths is our ability to vary our approach, making us unpredictable. Players like Lamine Yamal, Nico Williams, and Ferran Torres add speed and versatility. The players understand this and it’s something I always try to communicate.”

“This is a great start, a real morale boost, and it sets the path forward, but we must proceed with caution,” the Spain coach added. “We are already thinking about Italy. We must keep our feet on the ground. While we want the fans and the country to be excited, we know how quickly emotions can change in Spain.”

Croatia’s coach, Zlatko Dalic, apologized to the tens of thousands of supporters at the Olympiastadion. “The atmosphere was great,” said Dalic, who led the team to the 2018 World Cup final and the semi-finals four years later. “I apologize for our poor performance today. We were not aggressive enough. I hope it was just a bad day.”