Spain’s bid for an eighth consecutive European Championships appearance began in promising fashion, as manager Luis de la Fuente’s debut triumph saw the three-time Euro winners run out 3-0 victors over Norway via goals from Dani Olmo and Joselu.
And he got his tenure off to a flyer inside 15 minutes, when Alejandro Balde’s low ball into the box was cleverly turned in by Olmo for his sixth international goal.
The strike always had a feel of significance in a historical context too, with Spain boasting a perfect win record when scoring first in home Euro qualifiers since June 1995.
Some in attendance might have expected the floodgates to open immediately, but Norway were in no mood to roll over so early on, and they manufactured two clear-cut chances before the interval.
The contest then morphed into a cagey affair after the interval, with neither team posing any significant threat until the closing stages, when Alexander Sørloth spurned Norway’s best chance of the night by directing a close-range volley off target.
That was Spain’s cue to wrap up the three points once and for all, and 32-year-old Joselu turned his long-awaited international debut into a fairytale night with two goals in as many minutes.
Even so, the result itself comes as no great surprise for Spain regardless of the winning margin, with the three-time Euro winners having long been favourites to take first place in Group A.
Meanwhile, Norway’s defeat reminded them that they are likely to be in an almighty scrap for the second qualifying spot.