Spain have survived yet another threat in the ongoing Euro 2020 as they managed to beat 10-man Switzerland via penalty shootouts on Friday, July 2, 2021.
Spain and Switzerland met at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to play the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
Spain’s aim to go farther in the tournament received a huge boost as early as the 8th minute of the game when Swiss’ Denis Zakaria’s body reflected Jordi Alba’s shot to give Spain the early lead.
After the goal, Spain continued to ask questions but they could not get the best of the resilient Switzerland team. The first half ended with a one-goal lead.
In the second half, Switzerland tried to fight back to get the needed equalizer but Spain did not allow them to get back into the game so easily. The Swiss team kept pushing until the 68th minute before they got the equalizer, thanks to a strike from Xherdan Shaqiri.
When football lovers across the world thought Switzerland were about to stun them again by knocking out Spain from Euro 2020, one of their key players, Remo Freuler was sent off in the 77th minute.
Despite playing with a man down, Switzerland continued to endure Spain’s attack throughout the regular 90 minutes. The game went into extra time and yet, Spain could not score.
The fight continued until the extra time ended and had to go into penalty shootouts. At this point, it was looking like Switzerland were about to knock out another European football giant from Euro 2020. Recall that the Swiss team ended the journey of France in the round of 16 via penalty shootouts.
But this time around, they were not so lucky. Both sides missed most of the spot-kicks but Spain were able to score three out of five while Switzerland managed to score 1 out of five. Hence, Spain made it to the semi-finals.
After the game, the manager of Spain, Luis Enrique said: “That was the most tranquil penalty shoot-out I’ve ever been through because we’d done all our homework, all our practice and there was nothing left for the staff and me to do…
“We are so proud. It’d be ridiculous to think that we, or any of the semi-finalists, would settle for just getting that far now – all of us want to get to the final and win.”
“We faced Switzerland knowing their level and their capacity. The opponents didn’t press us as high as they might have. The game went into a dangerous phase at 1-0, and they were building good breaks. But from the red card the game changed around completely – we dominated, were dangerous, and created chances.
“I’ve said from the outset that we are one of the seven or eight teams which, no exaggeration, could win this trophy – now we’re one of four.”
While the head coach of Switzerland Vladimir Petkovic said: “I am a positive person. We have to go home taking the positives.
“I have mixed feelings. I have pride – we can all be so proud. We leave here with our heads held high. On the other hand, we were so close to the semi-final, and that doesn’t happen often. I have more positive than negative feelings.
“My players were the heroes of the night. We would have deserved to go to the semi-final.”
Spain will now face Italy in the semi-finals of the European Championship at 20:00 on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at the Wembley Stadium in London, England.