Lindelof the star as Sweden subdue Spain
Victor Lindelof was the star of the show as Sweden made a solid start to Euro 2020 by earning a 0-0 draw with Spain.
The centre-back was even presented with UEFA's 'Star of the Match' award, which is gifted to the outstanding performer in each game at the tournament.
And when you look at the stats from the game in Seville, what Victor and his defensive colleagues achieved seems even more notable.
ᴏꜰꜰ ᴛᴏ ᴀ ɢᴏᴏᴅ ꜱᴛᴀʀᴛ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴇᴜʀᴏꜱ. pic.twitter.com/lqQ4tWZdHH— Victor Lindelöf (@vlindelof) June 14, 2021
Luis Enrique's Spain completely dominated possession, racking up an astounding 917 passes – the highest number in a European Championship match since this data started to be collected in 1980.
That meant they had the ball for 85 per cent of the match, but La Roja were unable to find a way past Robin Olsen, Sweden's resolute goalkeeper, despite 17 shots on goal.
“I haven't managed to speak to the rest of my team-mates, but we played against a really tough and really good team,” said Victor afterwards.
“We showed how well we can defend and what we can do as a team. We managed to frustrate them quite a bit in the game. So it builds confidence for the tournament, we're happy with the result, we're going to try to recover and we're going to take a good feeling with us into the next game.”
That Lindelof looks decent for Sweden.— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) June 14, 2021
Lindelof made six clearances, two blocks and covered 9.8km during the match.
He also recovered the ball eight times and, perhaps most importantly, did not give away a single foul, despite Spain’s sizeable cabal of fleet-footed, nimble technicians.
Our no.2 also contributed to Sweden's limited attacking play, by delivering long throw-ins! Could he reprise that role at United next season? Maybe that's a question for Ole's first press conference of 2021/22!
So many defiant #SWE performances including Olsen, Lindelof, Danielsson and a 36-year-old Seb Larsson amongst others. Isak excellent. Pedri class for #ESP #SPASWE #EURO2020 0-0 f-t— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 14, 2021
Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line – the former Red picked up a knee injury before the tournament – Sweden did not carry too much of a threat in the final third but they still could have won the game.
Alexander Isak saw his shot hit the post, and also created an excellent opening for Marcus Berg, who could not turn the ball home at the back post.
But Lindelof and his team-mates will be delighted to have avoided defeat against the three-time tournament winners – especially given Spain’s home advantage – and now move on enthusiastically to their second match of the tournament.
That comes on Friday 18 June (kick-off 14:00 BST), when they take on Group E leaders Slovakia in St Petersburg.