Man Utd legend Gary Neville mocks Alvaro Morata after penalty miss for Spain

Gary Neville had little sympathy for Alvaro Morata following the striker’s early penalty miss in Spain’s 5-0 victory over Slovakia at Euro 2020, joking it looked as if he was ‘apologising’ to the ball as he stepped up to take the spot-kick.

Luis Enrique’s men recovered and finished runners-up in Group E to set up a last 16 clash against Croatia, with Aymeric Laporte, Pablo Sarabia and second-half substitute Ferran Torres all scoring in Wednesday’s one-sided clash.

Slovakia endured a miserable evening and were their own worst enemy in Seville as Martin Dubravka and Juraj Kucka helped their opposition with a pair of calamitous own goals at either end of the match.

Morata will have been desperate to add to his goal tally at the tournament after finding the net in Spain’s previous 1-1 draw with Poland – and the Juventus star was gifted a glorious chance to put his team in front after Koke was brought down in the box in the 12th minute.

But the forward’s strike lacked any conviction and was easily saved by Dubravka, who dived well to his right to keep the match goalless.

Fortunately for Morata, Dubravka’s first-half performance descended dramatically and bordered on the comical at times which took much of the attention away from his earlier penalty miss.

First, the Newcastle goalkeeper bizarrely parried the ball into his own net in the 30th minute before erratically racing out of his goal in the build-up to Aymeric Laporte’s header right on half-time as Spain doubled their lead in Seville.

However, it was Morata’s display that dominated discussion in the ITV Studio, with pundits Neville, Ashley Cole and Eni Aluko raising serious questions about the Juve attacker before the game had even started.

Former Manchester United and England right-back Neville said: ‘He’s got that vulnerable look about him, almost like he needs a cuddle.

‘And he looks like when he misses a chance, he’s fearing what the media and what the press and what his team-mates might say.

‘It looks like he’s had some criticism from playing for the national team.

‘He’s not a Diego Costa and he’s not a [Robert] Lewandowski or Harry Kane, these characters that you stick on the pitch and are steely eyed. He’s just not that, he’s very different.’

Neville took aim at Morata again at the half-time break after the former Chelsea flop missed his chance to put Spain in front from the penalty spot.

Enrique will have been pulling his hair out given it was the fifth time in a row that his Spain side had failed to convert a spot-kick.

‘I thought we were going to be cuddling Morata at half-time again!’ Neville said.

‘It’s like he apologises to the ball before he makes contact with it: “Sorry, I’m gonna have to kick you here!”

‘There is just no belief.

‘I have to say, I was glass half empty with Spain before the game but you just look at the chances they’ve created, even in the three games, and if they can start to take them and he [Morata] can take some confidence from somewhere then they will be dangerous.’

Manchester City forward Torres scored with his first touch just moments after replacing Morata in the 67th minute and will hope to be pushing for a start when Spain return to action in the round of 16.

The three-time European Championship winners had looked set to top the group but Viktor Claesson struck late to earn Sweden a dramatic 3-2 win over Poland in Wednesday’s other game.

It meant Sweden finished above Spain in Group E with seven points, with Enrique’s side picking up just five points from their three games.

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