Creator: Shankhadeep Dey
Spain Goalkeeper Unai Simon’s heroics on the penalty shootout helped Spain seal victory over Croatia within the Nations League last. Simon made two decisive saves within the shoot-out after the 2 sides performed out a lackluster goal-less sport.
Heartbreak for Modric
The defeat by the hands of Spain means Croatia’s veteran captain Luka Modric must watch for an illusive worldwide trophy. He has been instrumental within the 2018 Fifa World Cup the place he led Croatia to the ultimate, finally shedding to France. The Nations League title would have capped the talismanic Modric’s exemplary profession who has received quite a few titles for Actual Madrid, together with 5 Champions Leagues, a feat that’s unprecedented within the fashionable period.
A Tense Tie
The ultimate promised an fascinating battle as each Spain and Croatia reached the ultimate after profitable dramatic victories towards Italy and Netherlands respectively. It was additionally a repeat of the 2020 Uefa Euro’s last-16 tie the place La Rojas prevailed after the additional time.
Nevertheless, the ultimate noticed the 2 groups cautiously battle out a slightly uneventful goal-less draw within the first 90 minutes at Rotterdam’s De Kuip. Whereas Spain had the lion’s share of possession, they lacked creativity and chemistry upfront, leaving Spain’s assaults, by and enormous, sterile for essentially the most half. Croatia, alternatively, regarded extra comfy in possession beneath the skilled management of Modric, Mateo Kovacic, and Marcelo Brozovic.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Spain’s coach Luis de la Fuente introduced in Joselu, who has been instrumental of their victory over Italy, a transfer that noticed Spain turning into extra assured within the attacking third. Substitute Ansu Fati missed a golden alternative to seal it for his nation within the closing minutes which pressured the match to additional time.
Croatia’s Lovro Majer was tripped by Nacho within the 100th minute contained in the penalty field in what might have been the sport’s most decisive second. Nevertheless, referee Felix Zwayer was satisfied that the latter made sufficient contact on the ball to rule out any chance of a penalty.
Drama within the Tie-breaker
Athletic Bilbao’s Simon dropped an elite goalkeeping show as he saved twice from the spot. Lovro Majer’s missed kick introduced Aymeric Laporte with a golden likelihood to win the tie however the latter hit the crossbar to depart it 4-4 after the preliminary 5 kicks. Simon rose to the event but once more as he saved one other penalty from Bruno Petkovic and Actual Madrid’s Dani Carvajal, finally wrapping it up for Spain. “It was a really tight match, we knew we weren’t going to win simply,” Simon mentioned to Reuters.
Spain misplaced the Nations League to France two years in the past and have been eradicated by Morocco in final yr’s World Cup. The silverware would offer Spain with much-needed oxygen because the nationwide workforce goes by means of a transition the place many veterans are on the brink of bidding farewell to the sport. De La Fuente heaped praises on his gamers after the victory and expressed his confidence within the workforce’s future successes.