Ferran Torres’ first-half strike earns rotated Spain victory against Albania

“Many people claimed they would put four past us in the first game, five in the second, and we wouldn’t show up for the third,” Sylvinho had said, but Albania did show up: in the stands and on the pitch, as they have done throughout their time here. They had come to enjoy this and they had come to compete too. And so they did: going at Spain, this competition’s most impressive team, giving everything and getting beaten, yes, but by no more than more illustrious footballing nations. A solitary strike from Ferran Torres did it.

Going through to the second round was beyond Albania but they always knew that. They knew it when they were put in a group with Italy, Croatia and Spain and they knew it by the time they arrived in Düsseldorf. The fact that Spain were through might have offered a glimpse of hope but Sylvinho had said that even the seleccion’s B team could play the final, and still be favourite. But they came and they played.

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