TBILISI, Georgia: Spain thrashed hosts Georgia 7-1 in their Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday (Sep 8), with forward Alvaro Morata scoring a hat-trick and Barcelona prodigy Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest-ever Spain international and goalscorer.
Spain bounced back from a 2-0 loss away to Scotland with a performance Spanish football needed after the furore sparked by football federation boss Luis Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss of player Jenni Hermoso after her team’s Women’s World Cup triumph.
The 2023 UEFA Nations League champions started well and almost scored in the first minute with Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo and Robin Le Normand missing golden chances from close-range.
But Morata broke the deadlock with a header in the 22nd minute and Spain took a two-goal lead five minutes later when Georgia defender Solomon Kvirkvelia scored an own-goal trying to clear Fabian Ruiz’s low cross inside the six-yard-box.
A minute later Ruiz had a goal ruled out by VAR for a fractional offside but Olmo and Morata extended the visitors’ advantage further with tidy finishes before the break.
After heavy rain fell at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena at the interval, Georgia got on the scoresheet in the 49th minute through halftime substitute Giorgi Chakvetadze following a blunder by goalkeeper Unai Simon.
However, Morata and substitute Nico Williams soon added to the visitors’ lead with two strikes within two minutes.
In the 74th, Yamal, who had already become his country’s youngest international aged 16 years and 57 days after coming on just before halftime, scored their seventh goal to break the record as Spain’s youngest-ever goalscorer.
Yamal, who in August became Barcelona’s youngest debutant in an official match, broke the previous record of club team mate Gavi, who was 17 years 62 days when he made his debut in 2021.
Gavi broke the record of Athletic Bilbao’s Angel Zubieta (17 years 284 days), which had stood for nearly 85 years.
“I am very happy for my debut and for the goal. It’s a dream come true,” Yamal told TVE. “I’m living a dream, I’m delighted and I thank the players and coach for the confidence they have given me and everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Spain are second in Group A on six points after three matches and stand six points behind Scotland, who were playing their fifth match away to bottom side Cyprus later on Friday.
The Spaniards next host Cyprus in Granada on Tuesday.