Spain recover from early shock to stroll past Georgia and into quarter-finals

Spain versus Germany, then. Don’t mind if we do. The tournament hosts and its best team so far will meet in Stuttgart for a place in the semi-final after the selección took 31 shots and scored four goals to ease past Georgia here. Only ease may not be quite the right word. They were impressive again en route to a victory secured with goals from Rodri, Fabián Ruiz, Nico Williams and Dani Olmo, a lovely combination of quality, control and velocity and are surely favourites, but that may make it sound a little simpler than it was. If only because for the first time here in Germany they trailed.

At least, it risks diminishing what Georgia did here, however much they deserved to progress – and they did. Willy Sagnol’s men meanwhile are heading home, where 3.7m people will rightly welcome them as heroes. The lowest ranked team here, 74 in the world, 35 in Europe, that is no surprise. What is a surprise is how much they will be missed, how much fun we had watching them, how far they came. And for a while here, they wondered if they might even go a little further; Sagnol’s team opened the scoring, becoming the first to get a goal against Spain, and when at last they fell, they did so seeking a way back into a game they had refused to give up on.

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