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Euro 2020: Unai Simon helps Spain reach semis

Spain became the first team to enter the semi-finals at Euro 2020 after they edged past 10-man Switzerland in Saint Petersburg.

The victory was achieved after a 1-1 stalemate at the end of official time through a dramatic penalty shootout.

Spain will play Italy in the first semi-final at Wembley next Tuesday.

After hitting 10 goals in the their previous two games, Spain ended with 28 shots and 10 on target against the Swiss.

However, Enrique will be concerned by the misfiring Alvaro Morato and his replacement Gerard Moreno who missed chances galore. 

Spain started the game with their trademark passing, but when the goal did arrive in the eighth minute there was a healthy slice of luck involved.

Jordi Alba hit a left-footed half-volley after the ball dropped to him from a corner and a heavy deflection off Zakaria sent it past a wrong-footed Yann Sommer.

This was the 10th own goal of the tournament – which is more than in all the previous 15 editions of the Euros combined.

The Swiss suffered another setback after 23 minutes when they lost Embolo to injury following a clash with Spanish full-back Pau Torres.

However, this is a Swiss side that believes in itself.

They continued to attack and it finally paid off.

A defensive mix-up between Aymeric Laporte and partner Pau Torres saw the ball come to midfielder Remo Freuler who passed it to the unmarked Shaqiri.

The Liverpool star and Swiss captain, Shaqiri swept it past Unai Simon Simon to score his 26th goal for the national team.

The drama continued when Switzerland found themselves reduced to 10 men following a red card to midfielder Remo Freuler in the 77th minute.

This didn’t deter Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer who heroically kept Switzerland in the game, during extra time by producing several outstanding saves, including a point-blank shot from Moreno.

It was finally down to penalties and for the first time in the tournament, Switzerland looked unnerved.

Spain started badly with misses from Sergio Busquets and Rodri.

However, amazingly, the Swiss trio of Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Vargas all missed their efforts, thanks to some brilliant shot-stopping by keeper Unai Simon.

For Simon, it was a great way to redeem himself after his horrendous own goal against Croatia.

Finally, Mikel Oyazabal scored to send Spain through, 3-1 on penalties.

It was a cruel end to the Swiss who won the hearts of football fans all over the world after a stunning victory against France.

 

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