La Roja edged past Switzerland last night, beating them on penalties to secure a place in the semi-final of Euro 2020. Unai Simon, the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper who saved two penalties, emerged from the warm Russian evening as the hero.
Luis Enrique, according to Marca, instructed his players at the beginning of the tournament that they’d all have to take penalties, and the Spanish squad have been practicing them throughout the summer. The Asturian decided to open with Sergio Busquets and close with Mikel Oyarzabal. Oyarzabal, like Gerard Moreno, is a specialist, and both converted.
Oyarzabal scored the winner, made possible due to Simon’s two saves. The entire team wheeled away in celebration after the Basque converted, aside from Jordi Alba, who ran to embrace Luis Enrique on the touchline. Alvaro Morata was seen shedding a tear.
Simon is the hero, however, given how well he recovered from his calamitous error against Croatia last time out; he left a firm Pedri pass from distance beneath his foot, but put it out of his head to deliver a strong performance thereafter. That, according to Luis Enrique, is the stuff of champions, with the Asturian drawing parallels between the Basque and Rafael Nadal.