Spain became the first team to progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro 2020. They defeated Switzerland 3-1 on penalties in St Petersburg on Friday after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Spain plays Italy in their semi final on Tuesday. The Italians are on a 32 match undefeated streak after their win over Belgium.
Starting XI: Sommer; Zuber, H. Seferović, Shaqiri, Rodriguez, Freuler, S.Widmer, Elvedi, Embolo, Akanji, Zakaria
Substitutes: M. Gavranović, Schar, L. Benito, Mvogo, Mbabu, E.Fernandes, Sow, G. Kobel, E. Cömert, C. Fassnacht, J. Lotomba, R. Vargas.
Starting XI: Azpilicueta, Alba, Busquets, Morata, Sarabia, Koke, Laporte, Unai Simón, Ferran Torres, P. Torres, Pedri
Substitutes: De Gea, Thiago, G. Moreno, Gaya, Traore, D.Llorente, Llorente, Oyarzabal, Olmo, Rodri, Robert Sanchez, Eric Garcia
Spain had a dream start after an own goal from Dennis Zakaria in the 8th minute. Switzerland posed more threat in the second half. Zakaria came within inches of goal. His header off a corner kick that bounced just wide. Later in the half, Simon made a big save off Steven Zuber from equalising. Xherdan Shaqiri equalized in the 68th minute after a mix-up from Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres. His finish went right through the legs of Azpilicueta and past Unai Simon.
Remo Freuler was sent off after his challenge on Gerard Moreno. The dynamic of the game weighed in favour of Spain. But they were unable to take advantage. A brilliant performance from Yann Sommer left Spain frustrated. Luis Enrique went back to his bench for some midfield help as play went onto extra time.
The Swiss defensive show continued with a stretch. Sommer made an exquisite save to deny Oyarzabal. Ricardo Rodriguez denyed Llorente a effort inside the area. Gerard Moreno was presented with two exquisite chances to put Spain back ahead. He first missed wide from five yards out and then was snuffed out by Sommer right in front of goal. Thiago was called up, in place of defender Pau Torres, but it made no difference. There was no way past Sommer and the Swiss defence. This forced the Red Fury into the roulette of penalties.
Busquets missed the first penalty which was the black dot to his otherwise stellar performance. The Swiss played below par shots. Unai Simon would come through with two huge stops. Oyarzabal was able to finally settle things and give Spain the 3-1 shootout win and a berth in the semi-finals. Their next challenge are the Italians, who are on a 32 match unbeaten streak.