Mikel Oyarzabal scored the winning spot kick as Spain squeezed past a dogged Switzerland.
Spain equalled their highest ever EURO goals tally to bring Switzerland’s remarkable EURO 2020 run to a close, winning on penalties to book their first spot in a major tournament semi-finals since 2012.
Match in brief
A coordinated and compact Switzerland sat deep from the start, allowing Spain to keep possession. However, it took just eight minutes for La Roja to break the Swiss resolve. Koke’s outswinging corner fell kindly for Jordi Alba, whose rifled effort was diverted by Denis Zakaria’s outstretched leg past Yann Sommer.
A goal down, the Nati began to turn up the pressure and, in a positive spell towards the end of the first half, Silvan Widmer battled to win a corner from Haris Seferović’s redirected effort. The Swiss certainly posed a threat from set pieces, but this time Manuel Akanji glanced off target.
Vladimir Petković’s side pressed high in the second half, looking to establish a foothold and it paid off. As Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte struggled with a seemingly straightforward clearance, Remo Freuler pounced to feed Xherdan Shaqiri, who duly steered home to restore parity on 68 minutes.
Switzerland were back in the game, but in the 77th minute Freuler saw red for a dangerous challenge and the Nati were reduced to ten men.
Spain cranked up their intensity as the game moved into extra time. However, Gerard Moreno spurned several decent opportunities, before Sommer was alert to deny the Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo efforts that followed.
Luis Enrique’s men continued to turn the screw, but the Nati clung on, throwing their bodies on the line, scrambling to disrupt Spain, and forced the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Victorious from the spot against France, this time Switzerland were outdone, despite Sergio Busquets firing against the post first up. Unai Simón saved from Fabian Schär and Manuel Akanji, and Ruben Vargas blasted over, allowing Oyarzabal to send Spain into the semi-finals.
Star of the Match: Unai Simón (Spain)
“For his two saves in the penalty shoot-out.”
Mixu Paatelainen, UEFA Technical Observer
Vieri Capretta, Switzerland reporter
It’s heartbreak for the Nati as an epic EURO comes to an end. Penalties had given them a historic night against France, but this time it was a moment of sadness. Some bad luck was the difference between the sides. Switzerland did what they had to do, giving Spain hardly any chances and trying to create some danger up front. Taking the game to penalties was a miracle in itself. They scored, completed the comeback, but in the end might regret this. The feeling is that they could have progressed and extended their magical run.
Graham Hunter, Spain reporter
Nobody claimed that Spain were perfect, but this was an afternoon which proved where their problems lie. If they lose an edge, physically or mentally, then their exuberant, sparkling football can go a little flat. And no matter how much the coach and the two players dislike talking about the subject, Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte as two left-footed central defenders simply don’t look all that comfortable together. Nothing wrong with the effort, nor the basic concepts, but the verve wasn’t there. Frankly, they could stand to learn from their opponents’ daring and all-or-nothing attitude. Then again, Spain just love penalty shoot-outs. Onwards – just.
Luis Enrique, Spain coach: “We are so proud. It’d be ridiculous to think that we, or any of the semi-finalists, would sign for just getting that far now – all of us want to get to the final and win.”
Gerard Moreno, Spain forward: “We’ll resolve our various errors by working on the training ground. You make a mistake and the test is being mentally strong. Right now, I feel a ‘liberation’ that we’ve won. If not, I think the misses would have played on my mind.”
Unai Simón, Spain goalkeeper: “We have to go into the semi-final fresh, confident and with our heads high. We have to win the EURO now.”
Mikel Oyarzabal, Spain forward: “There was no room for failure and, luckily, I put my penalty in. As you walk up, there are so many things going through your head and the ‘road’ seems long to get there.”
Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland forward: “I’m really proud of the team. Penalties are a bit 50-50. I was nervous watching the shoot-out. I think we just lacked a little bit of luck today.”