Tue, 06 Jun 2023

MADRID, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Luis de la Fuente began his reign as national team coach with a 3-0 win at home over Norway on Saturday night.

Two late goals from debutant Joselu just three minutes after coming on as a substitute sealed the win for Spain in a game which showed the new coach has a different idea of football than Luis Enrique.

De la Fuente made several changes from the Spain side that disappointed in the World Cup, with Kepa back in goal, while Nacho Fernandez started in defense, Mikel Merino in midfield and Iago Aspas was back in the side for the first time since June 2019.

It was clear from the start that De la Fuente was looking for more pace and movement than his predecessor, with Spain looking to pressure high up the pitch and with Merino on the pitch they also moved the ball forward faster, rather than relying on a patient passing game.

The high pressure led to Dani Olmo opening the scoring with a smart flick in the 12th minute. Alvaro Morata opened the ball to the left and the striker got the outside of his foot on Alexander Balde's driven cross.

Morata was close to doubling the lead, but couldn't reach Aspas' low ball to the far post.

However, Spain's tactics also led to a more open game and although without Erling Haaland, Norway also created chances, with Kepa forced into a reflex save to block Fredrik Aursnes' smart volley.

The start of the second half saw Kepa make another block when Nacho almost deflected Marcus Pedersen's cross into his own goal and De la Fuente reacted by bringing Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Ceballos on for Aspas and Gavi.

The second half continued to be open but without many clear chances. Although Yeremy Pino could have done better when given space in the 73rd minute and Alexander Sorloth was inches away from leveling for Norway with an effort that went inches wide of the post six minutes later.

Espanyol striker Joselu then had a debut to remember with two goals to seal the win for Spain. His first goal was a clinical header from a cross by Fabian Ruiz in the 84th minute and 100 seconds later he made it 3-0 with a left foot shot after Norway failed to clear a loose ball in their penalty area.

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