Pique relieved to score game-winning goal

Spain defender Gerard Pique expressed his relief after his side escaped with a 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic on Monday. 

The reigning champions looked as if they would begin their Euro 2016 campaign on a sour note as Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech was in magnificent form. Despite denying Alvaro Morata twice, Cech was unable to keep out Pique’s header in the 87th minute.

Even though Spain only scored right at the death, Pique heaped praise on his side and felt that they did an excellent job.

“We played really well, controlled the game, made lots of chances, but the ball did not want to go in,” he told Spanish TV channel Telecinco. “I had the fortune to score the goal, but the team all played very well. We attacked with a lot of order, opened up the field well, and had to keep attacking until the goal came.

“It was a great ball from Iniesta. We wanted to win as we knew it was very important to get three points in the first game. Now we will wait on the second game.”

Meanwhile, Iniesta, who was named Man of the Match for setting up Pique’s goal with a superb cross, admitted that Spain should have found the back of the net earlier as he, David Silva, Aritz Aduriz and Jordi Alba all wasted golden opportunities to score.

“We try not to reach this point,” he told Telecinco. “We have played many games like this before. We try and push and push and push, so that the defence makes a mistake in the end, and we can score.

“Football is like this — sometimes you have the ball a lot, and in the end the game tilted our way and we are very happy.”