St Petersburg, July 3 (IANS) Three-time European champions Spain needed to fight until the penalty shootout to see off 10-man Switzerland, reaching the Euro 2020 semifinals after a 4-2 verdict.
The teams were tied 1-1 after regulation time on Friday and the extra time too didn’t produce a result. But Spain finally wrapped it up by winning 3-1 on penalties, reports Xinhua.
Spain led after eight minutes when Jordi Alba’s low shot outside the box was deflected by Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria’s leg, leaving goalkeeper Yann Sommer helpless.
Spain dominated all through in the second half but Switzerland, who stunned world champions France in penalty shootout to reach the quarterfinals for the first time, were desperate to find their way back through counterattacks.
In the 55th minute, Zakaria nearly cancelled his own goal but his shot was inches wide. Xherdan Shaqiri then nailed it as the Swiss captain calmly pushed Remo Freuler’s pass into net from close range in the 68th minute.
But Switzerland’s momentum was short-lived as Freuler was sent off in the 77th minute with a straight red card for a sliding challenge on Gerard Moreno.
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic promptly made two changes and the 10-man team was tough enough to drag Spain into extra time.
Spain attacked with a vengeance, but Sommer, who blocked French strike Kylian Mbappe’s penalty shot last Monday, pushed himself forward by making amazing saves one after another.
In a dramatic penalty shootout, Spain captain Sergio Busquets stepped up first but hit the left post.
Although Rodri also missed the target as Sommer dived to the right to block the shot, Switzerland could not kill another giant as they missed three penalty shots and Mikel Oyarzabal scored the decider for Spain.
Spain will face Italy in London’s Wembley Stadium on July 6.