In the end, Chelsea legend Petr Cech's heroics were not enough. Spain found the breakthrough they had been looking for the previous 87 minutes when Pedro intercepted a clearance, gave the ball to Iniesta, and he floated in a perfect cross (cross!) for Pique to head past the current Arsenal first-choice goalkeeper. No repeat of the Miracle at Camp Nou today for Cech.
The usual problems for Spain that we've seen despite all their success in 2008, 2010, and 2012 were still present, with the team seemingly preferring sterile possession over actual goal-threats, playing the old Pep-Barcelona system to a fault without a wild-card like Messi present.
Ball at an advanced wide area, Silva-Cesc drops, even Morata, that leaves no one inside the box. Sterile as hell. pic.twitter.com/BP5Rz22okw— István Beregi (@szteveo) June 13, 2016
But a win is all that matters, keeping Spain level with Croatia for the lead in Group D.
Cesc Fabregas started and played an ineffectual 70 minutes. He did produce a wonderful goalline clearance to thwart a rare Czech threat.
Pedro played the final eight minutes while Cesar Azpilicueta, as he tends to do, sat on the bench for the full 90. Next up for Spain will be Turkey on Friday.