SEVILLE (Reuters) - Spain put on an exhibition in their 5-0 hammering of Slovakia on Wednesday, ending the latter's Euro 2020 campaign in harsh fashion, Slovak coach Stefan Tarkovic said while backing the Spanish side as one of the favourites in the tournament.
Spain coach Luis Enrique this week described his side as a champagne bottle about to be popped open after frustrating performances in their opening matches. And that cork hit Slovakia right in the eye in Seville.
Seeking one more point to make their third trip to the knockout phase of a major tournament in three attempts, Slovakia instead made too many mistakes and could never muster a threat to their hosts.
Spain's first goal came after Slovak goalkeeper Martin Dubravka contrived to punch the ball into his own net, and it was all downhill from there.
"To make such mistakes against Spain, that is simply not acceptable," Tarkovic said.
"You need to be well-organised, you need to play well in defence, and we didn't do that."
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Tarkovic said the team still had hopes of getting back into contention, bringing in forward Michal Duris to add to the attack, but to no avail.
Spain stayed on the hunt, firing in nine shots on target during the game - more than Slovakia managed all tournament.
"We changed certain things and the formation as well but, after the third goal, I think it turned into an exhibition match for Spain."
Tarkovic said Spain's revival against his shell-shocked side reinforced his view that they could contend for the title.
"They have shown their qualities today," the Slovak coach said. "I think they have what it takes to be one of the candidates for the title."
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Hugh Lawson)