‘One of the toughest and most exciting’

Juan Mata reflected on Spain’s penalty-kick win over Italy as: “one of the toughest and most exciting games of my life.”

La Roja are in Sunday’s Confederations Cup Final against Brazil thanks to a 7-6 penalty shootout win against Italy, following on from a goalless 120 minutes of play.

“That was one of the toughest and most exciting games of my life,” Mata exclaimed post-match.

“There were chances for them and chances for us, it is almost unthinkable that it ended 0-0.

“I enjoyed the game despite the moments of great tension. We are happy and satisfied, we must now go and try to win the grand final on Sunday.

“You could see the fatigue in overtime and we were physically depleted.

“I’m happy to have played, although both teams drooped because of the heat, it was notable, it lowered the level and we had to draw strength from where there was none.

“The heat? We played a friendly in which it was also extremely hot. It is hard to sprint. We are not surprised by what Italy have managed, whilst they have been fine.

“They played a fantastic match and created us a lot of difficulties.”

Mata took one of Spain’s seven penalties.

“My legs were not shaking, I thought it had to go in, yes or yes. At that moment I was not thinking about progressing through to play Brazil.

“The desire and enthusiasm overcame the physical exertion.”

Tags Confederations Cup Italy Mata Spain