Personal kudos nothing if Spain don’t beat Italy – Morata

After hitting a brace in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Turkey last week, he took just seven minutes to open the scoring for Spain against Croatia in Bordeaux.

He is now level with Real teammate Gareth Bale, who on Sunday netted his third goal of Wales’ campaign to become the first player since Czech striker Milan Baros in 2004 to score three times in the opening three games of the competition.

The joy of Morata’s early strike was only temporary — and showed that past meetings with rivals at club level can mean little when it’s country versus country.

Fiorentina striker Nikola Kalinic’s slick mid-air effort levelled the scores before the half-time interval.

After Croatia keeper Danijel Subasic saved Sergio Ramos’s spot-kick, Ivan Perisic hit a cracking winner three minutes from time as Croatia won to go top of Group D.

Morata has crossed paths and invariably won as part of a dominant Juventus side on his many previous meetings with Fiorentina striker Kalinic, and Perisic, who has been one of the stars of a stuttering Inter Milan side since he joined the Nerazzurri last year.

He will be hoping for better luck against old friends and new foes in Paris.

Whilst Spain were struggling in the sweltering Bordeaux conditions, Buffon and Chiellini enjoyed a night off to protect them from picking up a second yellow card as an under-strength Italy lost out 1-0 to Ireland in Lille.

Buffon and Chiellini have already snuffed out one former teammate in Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the Azzurri’s 1-0 win in Toulouse on Sunday. A similar strategy will surely be in place to take care of Morata.

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