The first of the Euro 2020 quarter-finals saw favorites Spain beat Switzerland in the penalty shoot-out. The tenacity and vigor the Swiss squad showed in their game against France in the round of 16 was not enough to pull their team to the next round, mainly because of the disadvantage they faced by being a man down for almost 40 minutes.
The tiki-taka style inspired by the 70’s Dutch national squad, worked well for Spain earlier today at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg as they managed to create a staggering 26 shots for goal. However, similarly to their first two games in the group stage, they struggled to put the game in the net.
The second favorites to win the tournament avoided making the ball contestable by keeping the ball on the ground and removing, as much as possible, long ball plays from their gaming style. As such, they kept a 73% possession.
Jordi Alba, FC Barcelona’s left-back, found the net in the 8th minute of the game, by striking the ball from outside the box and bouncing it off Switzerland’s defender Denis Zakaria who claimed the own goal (1-0).
Switzerland managed to equalize in the 68th minute with their star player, Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri (3rd goal in the tournament) with a simple tap-in and though they had more shots for goal (8-6) up to that point, they failed to qualify to the semi-final, chiefly due to Atalanta’s midfielder, Remo Freuler, who received a straight red card in the 77th minute, belittling most of Switzerland’s hopes.
The central European country strategically defended for the rest of the game, hoping for a counter-attack opportunity, which unfortunately for their nation’s fans, never came. In the extra-time, Spain dominated possession but Swiss keeper Yann Sommer, with 10 saves (!) kept his team in the game.
Spain vs Switzerland on Penalties
In the penalty shoot-out, Fabian Schaer, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Vargas of Switzerland failed to score, offering the opportunity to Real Sociedad’s winger, Mikel Oyarzabal, to take the final penalty. He successfully aimed to the goalkeeper’s left and helped Spain to the Euro semi-final for the first time since 2012 when they lifted the trophy.
Euro 2020 Semifinals
Spain will now face the winner of today’s other quarter-final (Belgium vs Italy) on Tuesday July the 6th at the Wembley Stadium in London. Tomorrow’s Euro 2020 menu, Saturday July 3rd, consists of the other two games, that of England against Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome and Denmark against the Czech Republic at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.