Polish side suffered a dramatic 3-2 defeat on Wednesday
Spain and Sweden qualified for the round-of-16 after Poland suffered a dramatic defeat in their last group E fixture of Euro 2020.
The much-maligned Alvaro Morata missed an early penalty but it was otherwise a perfect evening in Seville for Spain against Slovakia, who are out of the tournament, with Ukraine heading through from Group C as one of the four best third-placed sides.
Luis Enrique described his team as a bottle of cava about to be popped and they certainly exploded in Seville, where a scoring frenzy felt cathartic and could yet prove transformative for their chances in the knock-out stages.
Spain were even about to progress as group winners until Viktor Claesson scored in the 94th minute against Poland to secure top spot for Sweden. Slovakia finish third and are out.
After two tension-filled draws against Sweden and Poland, Spain were left scrambling to qualify, with Luis Enrique admitting he would have taken any position in the group as long as it meant going through.
But Spain ran riot at La Cartuja, their early anxiety heightened by Alvaro Morata’s missed penalty and then quickly eased by two dreadful mistakes by Slovakia’s goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
The first was an own goal that will surely go down as one of the strangest moments of the tournament before another Dubravka error allowed Aymeric Laporte to head in.
With the shackles off, Spain let loose in the second half as Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres and another own goal from Juraj Kucka confirmed an emphatic win, even if Croatia and Luka Modric will provide a much sterner test next week.
Spain monopolised the ball in the first half but for 30 minutes, it was a familiar story of chances missed and frustration growing.
Spain were awarded a penalty as Jakub Hromada went to clear but instead lashed into the leg of Koke.
Morata had deferred the spot-kick to Moreno against Poland and this time took charge, only to whip the ball at a comfortable height for Dubravka to palm away to his right. It was the fifth consecutive penalty Spain have missed.
Claesson crush Poland’s hopes
In the other game in Group E, Viktor Claesson’s injury-time winner secured Sweden top spot with a 3-2 win over Poland, for whom Robert Lewandowski netted twice.
Emil Forsberg struck twice, the first coming after just 81 seconds, but Robert Lewandowski’s double gave Poland hope of qualifying before Claesson’s late goal sent Sweden through as group winners.
Sweden will likely play Ukraine in the last 16 after pipping Spain to first place, with Slovakia exiting alongside Poland following a crushing 5-0 defeat in Seville.
Janne Andersson’s side, safe in the knowledge they were assured of a place in the next round before kick-off, made a dream start as Forsberg scored for the second game in a row, netting the second-fastest goal in European Championship history.
Poland had not scored more than once in any of their previous 13 matches at the finals, but Lewandowski took advantage of confusion between Victor Lindelof and Marcus Danielson to equalise six minutes from time.
As Poland desperately pushed for a winner, Sweden snatched all three points right at the death when Kulusevski played in fellow substitute Claesson to slot beyond Wojciech Szczesny.