Sports"As a child I think I saved a penalty"

“As a child I think I saved a penalty”


Luis Enrique and Unai Simón hug after the game.SEFÚTBOL / Europa Press

The feeling of the weak standing up to the strong and the disputed expulsion of Freuler unleashed one of those epic volleys in which football was able to shake up the silent and neutral crowd that attended the match at the Gazprom Stadion in Saint Petersburg. like someone who attends a classical music concert. Unai Simón emerged from the volcano in favor of Switzerland in which the venue ended up becoming, confirmed as the new miracle-worker goalkeeper of Spain.

If his passage from hell to glory against Croatia was historic, no less will be the two penalties he stopped. His hug at the end of the session with Luis Enrique will be one of the images of this European Championship. “I have come a little up in the celebration, but it is what the body asked me, I do not usually be like that. It is a moment of euphoria and I have taken out all the anger and desire, “he said ecstatically before having a detail with Sommer, the Swiss goal. “I would have given him the best player of the match award. He made good saves and saved a penalty ”, he was sincere as he grabbed the trophy. “Against Betis I stopped two in a round and you have to count the one they threw out. I think that when I was little I saved a penalty too ”, he continued euphoric. According to Opta, and not counting rounds, so far he had saved a 15 penalty in his professional career. “Now you have to have the mentality that each game is new. For the semifinals you have to start the same, with your head with the sole thought of winning. We have to win this European Championship ”, proclaimed Simón with great conviction.

The two penalties that he stopped amended the shootout for Spain. With the first he countered the error of Busquets and with the second that of Rodri. The third missed by the Swiss was sent by Vargas to the clouds, intimidated by Unai Simón’s two previous actions and daunted by his dance of movements behind the goal line. When Oyarzabal executed Sommer, the pineapple of Spanish internationals pounced on the Real Sociedad striker and the Athletic goalkeeper, already converted into the great character of this team by returning it to a Eurocup semifinal nine years after the edition of 2012 that he ended up conquering.

If in 2008 it was Iker Casillas who broke the barrier of the quarterfinals that stranded Spain in each tournament, Unai Simón has been capital in the eighth against Croatia and in the quarterfinals against the fierce Switzerland. Against the Croats he had to get up from the error in the control of Pedri’s pass. Against the Swiss had to overcome the failures of the two midfielders of the Red. With the same coolness and naturalness with which he explained his ruling on Wednesday to the Spanish press, he seemed to be under the sticks to face the penalty shoot-out. The shots took place in the goal at the bottom of which the few hundred Swiss fans displaced to Saint Petersburg had gathered.

Sommer saves saves

The 24,000 Russians had already opted for the selection of the country that champions diplomatic neutrality. First the silence and then the boos presided over the attacks, already in superiority, of Spain during the extra time. Tempers flared at every Swiss counterattack or defensive action. Sommer’s saving saves in extra time inflamed the stands. When the referee signaled the end of the extra half hour it was celebrated as a triumph by the Russian fans.

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It was Sommer who began by winning the shootout when Sergio Busquets crashed the first pitch off the post. Gavranovic put Switzerland ahead in the first round. In the second one, Unai Simón has already emerged. Olmo scored for Spain before flying feline to his right to clear Schär’s mid-range strike. Sommer guessed Rodri’s shot before he delivered another prodigious stretch to his right. This time the flight was down. Despite his size, he reached for Akanji’s low shot with his gauntlet.

Gerard Moreno no longer wasted the opportunity to put the Red ahead before Vargas burst the ball over the crossbar. It was Oyarzabal’s turn to decide the pass to the semifinals and the realist did not fail. “I told Simon it was going to be his day. When Busi failed, I said that Simón was going to stop three. The fifth has been my turn but it is everyone’s job, De Gea, Robert, the goalkeeping coach … They are things that are worked on ”, concluded the realist.

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