Spain begin Under-21 tournament with big victory over hosts

Spain began their defence of the European Under-21 Championships title with a convincing 3-0 victory over co-hosts Slovenia on Wednesday.

Goals from Javi Puado, Gonzalo Villar and Juan Miranda were enough to secure a comfortable triumph for La Rojita, with Italy and Czech Republic cancelling each other out in the other game of the group – a 1-1 draw.

Under-21 finals

Luis de la Fuente’s side are aiming to retain the title they won in 2019 – when they defeated Germany 2-1 in the final – with an entirely new crop of young stars.

Espanyol striker Puado opened the scoring before Roma midfielder Villar put the game out of the reach of Slovenia, who are co-hosting the tournament alongside Hungary.

Real Betis full-back Miranda – on loan from Barcelona – put the icing on the cake with a strike late on.

Spain next play Italy on Saturday before completing the group against Czech Republic on Tuesday.