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Euro 2016: Pique's late header denies Czech Republic a point

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Defender Gerard Pique scored a late goal to give a dominant Spain side a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic in their Group D match of the European football championships in Toulouse on Monday.

Two-time defending champions, Spain, had ball possession up to 68 per cent, created 14 corners and fired 17 attempts on goal, but they failed to turn those numerous chances into goals as they ran into a determined backline superbly marshaled by Arsenal stopper Petr Cech.

With the match more and more likely ending as a goalless draw, second half substitute Chelsea's Pedro Rodriguez and playmaker Andres Iniesta combined on the wing before the latter sent a cross towards the back post.

Iniesta's Barcelona teammate Pique jumped early to cushion the header past Petr Cech, who should have made history by earning his country a point nearly single-handedly.

Iniesta proved dominant in midfield, launching wave after wave of attacks but Cech, together with central defender Roman Hubmik, always reacted quicker to keep their goal intact.

Although contained for most of the time in their own half, the Czechs finally had a terrific chance in the 65th minute. A short corner and delivery gave Theodor Gebre Selassie the chance to head home from a tight angle but Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas saved his side with a last-ditch clearance off the line.

Spain join Croatia at the top of Group D, with matching 1-0 wins in their opening games.

Teams:

Spain: De Gea, Juanfran, Ramos, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas (Thiago 70'), Silva, Nolito, Morata (Aduriz 62')

Czech Republic: Cech, Kaderabek, Sivok, Hubnik, Limbersku, Darida, Plasil, Gebre Selassie, Rosicky, Krejci, Necid (Lafata 74')

Final Score: Spain 1-0 Czech Republic (Pique 87')