2 July 2021 – Spain got its first ticket to the semi-finals of the European Championship on Friday evening. It didn’t go smoothly, the 10 men from Switzerland only got on their knees after extra time. Remo Froeller received a questionable red card in the 77th minute, which means that even stronger Switzerland must be fundamentally in defense again. Spain also created almost no chances against the ten men, so a series of penalties were required. Switzerland missed three, and Spain two.
After four days of stress for Switzerland and Spain, they now had to compete in the quarter-finals. Spain achieved this by dealing with Croatia after extra time (3-5), while Switzerland took penalty kicks better than France (4-5). In doing so, they secured a ticket to the quarter-finals and were on the verge of entering the semi-finals against Belgium or Italy.
In the quarter-finals, Switzerland had to dispense with captain Granit Xhaka, who, like many of his colleagues, received a yellow card against France, and therefore was suspended. His replacement was Denis Zakaria. The Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder naturally wanted to replace Xhaka in the best possible way, but unfortunately he got a leading role in the first half. Only eight minutes later he changed a shot from Jordi Alba in a way that goalkeeper Jan Sommer did not have and the ball went into the goal: 0-1.
It wasn’t a good start for Switzerland, and it only got worse when striker Brill Donald Embolo was forced to be sidelined with a hamstring injury. The pain started after a fierce duel on the back line awarded him a corner kick. That was one of Switzerland’s many corner kicks in the first half, from which I also headed twice. However, both verticals were omitted at a time when Switzerland was getting stronger. Spain dominated the first part of the first half, but after Zakaria’s own goal did not go far beyond Cesar Azpilicueta’s header in the hands of Sommer.
Spain sank more after the first half, while Switzerland got stronger and stronger. The logical score was 1-1 in the middle of the second half. Spain called the goal itself and it was not good to defend before the goal. A pass ended up in the mix with two Spanish defenders, after which he chose Remo Freuler. Keep the overview and include Xherdan Shaqiri on his site. The player overtook Liverpool goalkeeper Unai Simon by a lap. A little earlier, the goalkeeper had run a ball off Steven Zuber and saw Zacharias with his head away.
Switzerland thought they would go on to win after that goal, but got a big damper about ten minutes from the end. Freuler got the red card after entering with two feet. Although he kept his legs low and played the ball as well, referee Michael Oliver drew red and Froeller was able to leave. And so Spain, which had not yet implemented anything, suddenly found itself in a seat again.
Only in extra time did Spain seem to take advantage of the man’s situation even more. Only then did the pressure really increase and Switzerland suffered. For the remainder of the second half, there was no doubt about it, Switzerland stayed afloat fairly easily. Spain’s first chances soon presented themselves: Substitute Gerard Moreno hit the ball wide with a cross from Alba, who collided with Sommer moments later and Moreno did the same with a ball that fell behind the Swiss defence. Later, Sommer interfered several times, so he managed to drag Switzerland to penalty kicks.
In the penalty shootout against France, Sommer became the champion by reversing Kylian Mbappe’s penalty kick and hitting it again. However, it wasn’t enough, as he watched wistfully that his teammates had missed three. Fabian Scheer, Manuel Akanji and Robin Vargas did not get kicks, Simon stopped two penalties and Vargas fired. The deciding factor was Mikel Oyarzabal, who led Spain to the quarter-finals. It will hit Italy or Belgium.
man of the match: Unai Simon.
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