SportsUnai Simón remedies Spain

Unai Simón remedies Spain

Spain also took advantage of a bad game, already in the semifinals. It did not save him the pain of penalties that Switzerland gave him a goal and then had to play 48 minutes with ten. In between he conceded another firecracker goal and was condemned without finding football all day. He lacked rhythm and he lacked nerve. The Helvetians, with the heroic in tow, stayed on the shore, frustrated by Unai Simón, a giant since his blunder against the Croats, who stopped two shots in the decisive round, and the final pike from Oyarzabal. Unai was worth a semifinal. Football can be the most restorative, it has been for the Basque goal.

In a European Championship with so many beats, with so much suspense, Spain-Switzerland was an exception until victims and executioners were confused in the penalty shootout. Before, if not for the quarter-finals of a similar championship, a rock only sustained by the intrigue of the outcome. Incredible as it may seem, in the imposing stadium of St. Petersburg everything was soulless. Hardly Swiss, hardly Spanish, and the Russian majority only found entertainment in the wave until they opted for the Spanish adversary when they saw him as a thumb after Freuler’s expulsion.

There were no sparks, no hooks. The thing was a bland Spanish fiddle with the ball without any spice. In front, a selection well prepared to block the three Spanish midfielders, but nothing expansive. At rest, the accounts were eloquent. One shot on goal. That of Jordi Alba, in the direction of Sommer’s hands, but Zakaria screwed up, deflected the ball and it made a joke to his goalkeeper. Not a bit of the Helvetians. Bulk football. Symptomatic: two goalkeepers much more interventionist with their feet than with gloves.

Organized to enchironar Busquets, Pedri and Koke, Switzerland carried out the plan to the letter. Shaqiri used to buckle up the Spanish captain. Freuler and Zakaria forced the Spanish flyers to move in the opposite direction. In other words, to play very often from the back, with the rival goal in the neck. As a consequence, Luis Enrique’s team did not flow. Low gear, few decibels. All routine. Nor did Spain find fans on the shores, where Ferran and Sarabia barely ventured one on one. Azpilicueta and Jordi Alba were also held. Apart from the goal, a free kick by Koke was the only squeeze for Sommer, Mbappé’s executioner in the round of 16, before half-time.

Better buckled in defense, Petkovic’s team had a world of difficulty dealing with their forwards, whether it was the elusive Shaqiri or Sefarovic, a crane striker. They did not find the key to circumvent the advanced Spanish defense, in which Luis Enrique set the two left-handed centrals again.

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The atony of the Spanish team worsened in the second act. The coach threw the bow to Olmo for Sarabia and shortly after envied Gerard Moreno for Morata. Nothing worked. Petkovic, who had already lost Embolo through injury, did not intervene, but his team took a turn after the break. Another ease, more attacking vocation. A header from Zakaria and a raid from Zuber cut off by Unai Simón put Spain on guard. The Swiss goal was ventured and it arrived. Another Spanish botch. Laporte went to the cross, his clearance rebounded off Pau and the noise led to Shaqiri’s tie.

Freuler in combustion Spain was touched. To his rescue came the Swiss Freuler and the English Oliver. The first one went into combustion and destroyed Gerard Moreno and the ball in the middle at full speed. With a yellow card everyone would have been at peace. But Oliver, the referee, shot red and the VAR did not correct him. It’s the times, they say. It was minute 77. There was a lot of trouble for the Helvetians.

The Swiss disappointment made Luis Enrique’s team breathe, but he did not finish by squaring and the duel went to extra time, the Swiss dream after seeing ten. The refreshment arrived, with Marcos Llorente and Oyarzabal and Petkovic felt obliged to strengthen the dike and withdraw his starting forwards. Switzerland played the beans without Xhaka -sanctioned from the last 16-, Shaqiri, Embolo and Seferovic, all part of the team.

As was logical, Spain, in superiority, overwhelmed its adversary in the third half. Switzerland still had the epic and, of course, Sommer, riddled with Gerard Moreno, Oyarzabal, Olmo … There were several Spanish shots but no one hit. The same team that had ten goals in the two preceding games could not score one against an opponent who spent 48 minutes with one player less.

Football winks, so unpredictable so many times. Without more, question of the roulette of penalties. Unai, more than redeemed from the error against Croatia and repairing the failures of Busquets and Rodrigo, was enlightened, and Oyarzabal sang the ticket to the semifinals. With lights and shadows, there goes Spain, which suffers and thrashes. A Spain, for better or for worse, unpredictable.

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