Spain have mathematically qualified for Euro 2024 next summer. La Roja’s 1-0 victory away at Norway on Sunday evening means that Group A is already decided, as Spain and Scotland are already guaranteed the top two spots, while Norway will have to hope for a chance to try their luck in the playoffs.
On the night when Spain qualified for their eighth consecutive European Championships, the two full-back positions were marshalled by Madridistas, as Dani Carvajal played 90 minutes at right-back and Fran García 90 minutes at left-back. For the latter, this was his first start for his country, well-earned after he came off the bench for his debut against Scotland on Thursday and helped swing the tide in Spain’s favour.
Of the two other Real Madrid players in the squad, Joselu came on in the 89th minute, only giving him enough time to make four touches, while Kepa remained on the bench.
How did Carvajal and Fran García perform for Spain?
It was certainly curious that the two Real Madrid players who played the full game were both full-backs. The position considered by most Madridistas to be the weak link of the current Los Blancos squad put forth two players to contribute to this win in Norway.
Carvajal maintained his strong start to the season by playing excellently in defence and by getting forward well. Although not his most dangerous cross ever, it was Carvajal’s ball in the 20th minute that saw Álvaro Morata make the most naïve of errors. By running and getting the last touch on a potential Stefan Strandberg own goal, to boost his own personal tally, an offside Morata ended up ruling out a goal that would have stood after the Norwegian defender turned Carvajal’s ball goalwards.
There were a few other Carvajal forays forward, but this was a simple game for the veteran for the most part. Neither Aursnes nor Nusa caused him much of an issue at the other end, as Carvajal helped Spain book a ticket to the country where he used to play.
As for Fran García, the young left-back did struggle in defence more than Carvajal, and one poor attempt at a clearance almost led to a Norway goal. Up the other end, though, Fran García was lively and put in several crosses, even if none of them connected with an Álvaro Morata who was having an off night.
At the end of the day, it was mission accomplished by the Real Madrid players. They kept a clean sheet, kept Haaland quiet (even if this was more so down to Laporte and Le Normand), won the game and booked the national team’s place in next summer’s tournament.