The Swiss team looked ahead without having a chance to secure a place in the quarter-finals because world champions France were the opponents in the eighth final. After a surprising 0-1 lead, former PSV Eindhoven player Ricardo Rodriguez was able to finish the match with a penalty, but Hugo Lloris saved the left-back’s effort. After France gave gas, Switzerland trailed 2-1 at short notice thanks to two goals from Karim Benzema. Then Paul Pogba seemed to hit the French turn again (3-1), but Switzerland straightened their backs and before the end of the official period forced the extension. No goals were scored, after which the penalty shootout had to make the decision. In the end, Jan Sommer was a hero to the Swiss by reversing the decisive efforts of Kylian Mbappe.
Spain also played its eighth final with a lot of emotion against Croatia. After a fatal error by goalkeeper Unai Simon, who allowed a pass from Pedri to bounce over his foot, causing it to disappear into the net, the Spaniards were able to take complete control of the match. Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres led 3-1, but Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic (with a header in injury time) had to go into overtime in Copenhagen. Striker Alvaro Morata hit the ropes superbly and Mikel Oriazabal made it 3-5. National team coach Luis Enrique spoke of his team in the group stage as a “semi-open bottle of Cava”. With ten goals in the last two matches of EURO2020, the Spanish team has added some sparkle to this statement.
For Switzerland, qualifying for the EURO2020 quarter-finals is one for the books. The Swiss reached the quarter-finals of the European final for the first time since 1954. Spain became European champions in 2008 and 2012, but at Euro 2016 the eighth final was the last stop after the 2-0 defeat to Italy. Hopefully the match between Switzerland and Spain will be as great as the two countries’ matches in the Eighth Final. Spain was warned of the giant killer Switzerland.
Switzerland – Spain can be seen on NPO1 on Friday at 6pm on NOS.