Joselu scores debut double as Spain beat Norway in Euro 2024 qualfier

Espanyol striker comes off the bench and ensures De la Fuente enjoys winning start to managerial reign

Spain's Joselu celebrates scoring his second goal against Norway in Malaga on March 25, 2023.  AP
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Joselu cam off the bench to score a debut double for Spaide la Fuente n against Norway to ensure Luis enjoyed a winning start to his reign as manager.

Dani Olmo had scored in the 13th minute as Spain opened its Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 3-0 victory at Malaga's La Rosaleda Stadium on Saturday.

Josulu became the first Spain player to score twice on his debut since Fernando Morientes in 1998 with goals in the 83rd and 85th minute.

“I still don’t believe it. I scored twice in my debut,” the Germany-born Espanyol striker said. “This is everything a player can ask for. Hard work has its rewards. I feel like an 18-year-old kid.”

The Norwegians were without key striker Erling Haaland who dropped out of the squad due to a groin injury his picked up during Manchester City's FA Cup win over Burnley.

And Spain were able to take full advantage and ensure they won a 23rd straight Euro qualifying win at home, although De la Fuente's side failed to put the game to bend until the last 10 minutes.

La Roja arrived with a squad overhauled by coach De la Fuente after he was promoted from Spain’s under-21 team to replace Luis Enrique who was sacked following the team’s elimination against Morocco in last-16 of the World Cup.

De la Fuente made it a priority to solve the scoring problems of a squad that managed only one win in Qatar after dominating possession in most games but failing to create many significant scoring opportunities.

Spain again struggled against Norway, though, and failed to make the most of their opportunities until Joselu's late strikes as the visitors played solidly from the start.

“It's normal to suffer in matches at this level,” De la Fuente said. “I'm happy with the attitude that we showed, it gives me reason to be very optimistic. We will keep improving.”

Olmo put Spain ahead by redirecting Alejandro Balde's low cross. Joselu, who replaced starting striker Álvaro Morata in the 81st minute, sealed the victory with a header and a close-range shot.

One of Norway's best opportunities to equalise had gone to Real Sociedad striker Alexander Sorloth. His volley from inside the area went just wide in the 80th.

“It's our job to know the players, but all credit goes to Joselu,” De la Fuente said. “We gave him the opportunity and I'm happy for him and for all the players.”

Spain next face Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday when Norway travel to Georgia.

Updated: March 26, 2023, 4:39 AM