Spain advance to the semi-finals after defeating Switzerland on penalties. La Roja will now face Italy in the semi-finals - Euro 2020
|Spain have now scored 12 goals at EURO 2020, equalling their highest ever total at a EURO finals, set in 2008 and 2012. They won both those tournaments after six games; this was their fifth at EURO 2020. (Photo credit: uefa.com)|
Spain equalled their greatest ever EURO goal total to end Switzerland's incredible EURO 2020 run, winning on penalties to clinch their first place in a major tournament semi-final since 2012.
From the start, a well-coordinated and tight Switzerland sat deep, allowing Spain to keep possession. La Roja, on the other hand, broke the Swiss resolve in just eight minutes.
Jordi Alba's rifled shot was diverted past Yann Sommer by Denis Zakaria's outstretched leg after Koke's outswinging corner dropped beautifully for him.
With a goal down, the Nati continued to apply more pressure, and Silvan Widmer struggled to win a corner from Haris Seferovi's diverted effort near the conclusion of the first half.
The Swiss were clearly dangerous from set-pieces, but Manuel Akanji was off-target this time.
In the second half, Vladimir Petkovic's team pressed high in an attempt to gain a footing, and it paid handsomely.
Remo Freuler pounced on a poor clearing by Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte, feeding Xherdan Shaqiri, who duly drove home to restore parity on 68 minutes.
Switzerland had clawed their way back into the game, but Freuler was sent out in the 77th minute for a risky challenge, and the Nati were reduced to ten men.
As the game progressed into extra time, Spain increased their energy.
Gerard Moreno, on the other hand, squandered many good chances before Sommer stepped in to save Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo's efforts.
The Nati clung on, putting their bodies on the line, rushing to disturb Spain, and forcing the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Despite Sergio Busquets' first-half effort hitting the post, Switzerland were surpassed this time.
Fabian Schär and Manuel Akanji were denied by Unai Simón, and Ruben Vargas blasted over, allowing Oyarzabal to take Spain to the semi-finals.
Man of the Match: Unai Simón (Spain)
What the players and managers said
Luis Enrique, Spain coach: "We are so proud. It'd be ridiculous to think that we, or any of the semi-finalists, would sign for just getting that far now – all of us want to get to the final and win."
Gerard Moreno, Spain forward: "We'll resolve our various errors by working on the training ground. You make a mistake and the test is being mentally strong. Right now, I feel a 'liberation' that we've won. If not, I think the misses would have played on my mind."
Unai Simón, Spain goalkeeper: "We have to go into the semi-final fresh, confident and with our heads high. We have to win the EURO now."
Mikel Oyarzabal, Spain forward: "There was no room for failure and, luckily, I put my penalty in. As you walk up, there are so many things going through your head and the 'road' seems long to get there."
Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland forward: "I'm really proud of the team. Penalties are a bit 50-50. I was nervous watching the shoot-out. I think we just lacked a little bit of luck today."
The comeback is always stronger than the setback.— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 2, 2021
Unai Simón 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/gdC1QmTwmi