MADRID (AP) — Spain needed an 88th-minute goal against Portugal on Tuesday to end its winless streak and advance to complete the last four lineup in the Nations League.
Alvaro Morata’s late goal secured a 1-0 victory that allowed Spain to beat Portugal in Group A2 and join Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands in the final in June next year. is done
Portugal had a chance late on to get a much-needed point but Cristiano Ronaldo missed from close range to end his streak without a goal with the national team at three games.
Spain needed a win to return to the last four after losing to France in last year’s final. Portugal won the inaugural edition of the competition at home in 2019 but have not reached the group stage since.
Spain struggled to create chances until Dani Carvajal found Nico Williams in the area and the young Athletic Bilbao forward returned the ball across the box for an easy strike into an open net by Morata.
Spain were in control of the group until last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Switzerland, while Portugal topped the group with a 4-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Spain had not won in Portugal in nearly two decades since a friendly in 2003. In 1934, he won his first match against Portugal after a 2-1 win for the World Cup.
The Iberian neighbors have drawn their last four matches, including friendlies. Spain’s last win against Portugal was in the 2012 European Championship semi-finals in a penalty shootout.
Spain also needed last-day victory to reach last year’s last four, beating Germany 6-0 at home.
Coach Luis Enrique made seven starting changes after the defeat at home to Switzerland, with Barcelona players Sergio Busquets, Gueye Pez and Padre Gonzalez among those relegated to the bench.
With back-to-back wins for Switzerland, Portugal and Spain, they beat the Czech Republic 2-1 at home to avoid relegation to League B.
Norway needed a draw at home to Serbia to win their group, but lost 2-0 to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s Erling Holland. Mitrovic scored in the second half after Dusan Vlahovic opened the scoring before half-time.
Sweden, who have lost four in a row, were eliminated after a 1-1 draw at home to Slovenia.
Scotland won their group with a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, while Ireland finished second with a 3-2 win over Armenia.