Spain equalled their highest ever EURO goals tally to bring Switzerland’s remarkable EURO 2020 run to a close, winning on penalties to book their first spot in a major tournament semi-finals since 2012.
Match in brief
A coordinated and compact Switzerland sat deep from the start, allowing Spain to keep possession. However, it took just eight minutes for La Roja to break the Swiss resolve. Koke’s outswinging corner fell kindly for Jordi Alba, whose rifled effort was diverted by Denis Zakaria’s outstretched leg past Yann Sommer.
A goal down, the Nati began to turn up the pressure, and in a positive spell towards the end of the first half, Silvan Widmer battled to win a corner from Haris Seferović’s redirected effort. The Swiss certainly posed a threat from set pieces, but this time Manuel Akanji glanced off target.
Vladimir Petković’s side pressed high in the second half, looking to establish a foothold and it paid off. As Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte bungled a seemingly straightforward clearance, Remo Freuler pounced to feed Xherdan Shaqiri, who duly steered home to restore parity on 68 minutes.
Switzerland were back in the game, but in the 77th minute Freuler saw red for a dangerous challenge and the Nati were reduced to ten men.
Spain cranked up their intensity as the game moved into extra time. However, Gerard Moreno spurned several decent opportunities, before Sommer was alert to deny the Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo efforts that followed.
Luis Enrique’s men continued to turn the screw, but the Nati clung on, throwing their bodies on the line, scrambling to disrupt Spain, and forced the match into a penalty shoot-out.
As the Nati managed to convert just one penalty, Oyarzabal stepped up to fire home Spain’s fifth kick and send them into the semi-finals.
Star of the Match: Unai Simón (Spain)
“For his two saves in the penalty shoot-out.”
Mixu Paatelainen, UEFA Technical Observer
Vieri Capretta, Switzerland reporter
It’s heartbreak for the Nati as an epic EURO comes to an end. Penalties had given them a historical night against France, but this time it was a moment of sadness. Some bad luck was the difference between the sides. Switzerland did what they had to do, giving Spain hardly any chances and trying to create some danger up front. Taking the game to penalties is a miracle in itself. They scored, completed the comeback, but in the end, might regret this. The feeling is that they could have progressed and extended their magical run.
Graham Hunter, Spain reporter
Nobody claimed that Spain were perfect but this was an afternoon which proved where their problems lie. If they lose an edge, physically or mentally, then their exuberant, sparkling football can go a little flat. And no matter how much the coach and the two players dislike talking about the subject, Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte as two left-footed central defenders, simply don’t look all that comfortable together. Nothing wrong with the effort, nor the basic concepts, but the verve wasn’t there. Frankly they could stand to learn from their opponents’ daring and all-or-nothing attitude. Then again, Spain just love penalty shoot-outs. Onwards – just.
- Spain have now scored 12 goals at EURO 2020. This equals their highest ever total of goals scored at the finals, which was 12 in 2008 and 2012 when they won the tournament (six games in both of those competitions) this is their fifth at EURO 2020.
- Xherdan Shaqiri has now scored four goals in EURO final tournaments, becoming Switzerland’s all-time EURO final tournaments top scorer.
- Switzerland have won just one of their last 23 matches against Spain.
- Switzerland have lost each of their four major final tournament quarter-finals (1954, 1938, 1934 FIFA World Cups and EURO 2020).
- Switzerland have only failed to score in one of their last 13 international matches (excludes awarded 3-0 victory vs Ukraine).
- Switzerland have only failed to score in two of their last 11 EURO final tournament matches.
- Spain have lost only one of their previous 23 international matches against Switzerland (W16 D6 L1).
- Spain are unbeaten in their last 13 international fixtures (W6 D7).
- Spain have lost only two of their last 21 EURO final tournament matches (excludes penalty shoot-outs).
- Spain have not conceded more than one goal in any of their last 15 international matches against Switzerland.
- Three of Spain’s last five EURO quarter-final matches have required a penalty shoot-out to decide the outcome (L vs England 1996, W vs Italy 2008, W vs Switzerland EURO 2020).
Switzerland: Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez; Widmer (Mbabu 100), Freuler, Zakaria (Schär 101), Zuber (Fassnacht 90+2); Shaqiri (Sow 81), Embolo (Vargas 23); Seferović (Gavranović 82)
Spain: Unai Simón; Azpilicueta, Pau Torres (Thiago Alcántara 113), Laporte, Alba; Koke (Llorente 90+1), Busquets, Pedri (Rodri 119); Sarabia (Olmo 46), Morata (Gerard Moreno 54), Ferran Torres
Spain – vs Belgium/Italy in London, Tuesday 6 July