Spain need penalties to defeat 10-man Switzerland

Spain are through to the Euro 2020 semi-final after a penalty-shootout win over Switzerland.

A Denis Zakaria own goal gave Spain the lead in the first half but Switzerland hit back through Xherdan Shaqiri.

Switzerland needed to play with 10 men for 43 minutes to force a penalty shootout after Remo Freuler’s red card, but Switzerland scored just one penalty as Mikel Oyarzabal sent Spain through with the winning spot-kick.

They will play Belgium or Italy next week for a place in the final.

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Spain were ahead inside the first eight minutes when Jordi Alba’s long-range shot deflected off Zakaria into the back of his own net.

Alvaro Morata came close to doubling the lead when he rose highest at a corner but Yann Sommer made a good save as Spain dominated possession in the opening half-hour.

But Switzerland could have levelled before halftime when Manuel Akanji sent a header over the crossbar.

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Zakaria nearly made amends for the own goal when he headed narrowly wide after the restart as Switzerland pushed for a leveller.

Steven Zuber then forced Unai Simon into a superb save to tip the ball behind.

The equaliser did come with 22 minutes of normal time remaining after some calamitous Spanish defending. A mix up between Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres led to Freuler picking up the loose ball. He then played in Shaqiri to scored from eight yards.

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Switzerland’s task was made much harder though when Freuler was sent off for a late tackle on Gerard Moreno but they were able to hold on to take the match to extra time.

Moreno should have given Spain the lead at the start of extra time but somehow fired wide from close range after a superb Alba cross.

The Villarreal striker had another chance but Sommer denied him and the Switzerland goalkeeper was called into action moments later to deny a curling Mikel Oyarzabal strike.

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Spain continued to push for a winner and would have had one in the second half through Marcos Llorente but Ricardo Rodriguez got in the way to make an excellent block.

Sommer was called into action again to force a penalty shootout. He saved a Sergio Busquets header before denying Moreno once again.

Both goalkeepers continued their fine form into the penalty shootout. First, Busquets put Spain’s opening penalty against the left post before Fabian Schar’s spot-kick was saved.

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Manchester City’s Rodri was then denied by Sommer before Simon got to Akanji’s penalty.

Moreno put Spain ahead when he put the ball into the top corner and Ruben Vargas sent the ball wildly over the bar.

It was left to Oyarzabal to power the ball low into the left corner to finally send Spain through.

Cover Photo: “Euro 2020 street lights in Bucharest” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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1 Response

  1. 02/07/2021 21:58

    […] Spain need penalties to beat Switzerland […]

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