Nico Williams gets royal assent after dynamic display shows Spain’s future

Winger took his Italian marker to pieces but has his father’s and older brother’s sacrifices to thank for his progress

When Nico Williams turns up, everything changes, except him. At the end of Spain’s 1-0 destruction of Italy on Thursday night – and, yes, there is such a thing as a 1-0 destruction – King Felipe VI made his way down to the dressing room to congratulate them. There was a brief address, something about having to win even if it was with an own goal, and a smattering of polite applause. The king went round the room: handshakes, smiles, the occasional word. “Sixteen?!” he said, standing before Lamine Yamal, putting his head in his hands. The players laughed a little awkwardly, nodded, said thanks.

And then, just as Felipe reached the end of the line, shook David Raya’s hand and started to say he was going now, he was suddenly interrupted by a cheer and applause. A big cheer and proper applause: forget all the formality, this was felt. Behind him, Williams had walked in. Make way for real royalty. Top off, grin on, Spain’s winger and the game’s man of the match bounced in and held out his hand, a high palm this time in place of all that protocol. Which made for a pretty good portrait. Iñaki’s little brother is irresistible, he and Lamine Yamal the revolution.

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