Spain survived a late scare against Croatia and clinched a 5-3 win to make progress through to the quarter-final of EURO 2020. They locked horns with Switzerland this evening but were cautious considering the level of confidence exhibited by A-Team Nati in their dramatic victory against world champions France.
La Roja, however, had a perfect start when Jordi Alba’s strike took a wicked deflection off Denis Zakaria to end up into the back of the net. Switzerland scripted a sensational comeback when Xherdan Shaqiri found the net capitalizing on Spain’s defensive error. They even went down to ten men minutes later, but the headstrong display from the minnows took it to yet another tie-breaker.
Switzerland were accurate with their spot-kicks against France, but they failed to convert thrice this time thus enduring a heartbreaking egress from the competition.
Below are the Spain players rated in their edgy 1(3) – 1(1) win against Switzerland.
Unai Simon: 8.5
Retained his place between the sticks in spite of the incredible howler against Croatia. Made a decent stop to deny Steven Zuber midway through the second half but was left exposed by the Spanish defenders when Shaqiri equalized moments later. The football world witnessed his heroics though when he denied Schar and Akanji from the spot to guide his nation to the ‘last four’.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6.5
Had his contribution while making overlapping runs but looked shaky at the back, particularly after the hour mark. But the dismissal of Remo Freuler took the momentum away from Switzerland.
Pau Torres: 5.5
Was handed a surprise start in place of Eric Garcia despite struggling against the Croats. Was erroneous at the back leading to Shaqiri’s equalizer. Got relieved when Rossocrociati went down to ten men. Was taken off to be replaced by Thiago Alcantara late into the Extra Time.
Aymeric Laporte: 6.5
Was solid at the back barring one occasion when the lack of chemistry with Torres allowed Shaqiri to make it 1-1. Missed the presence of Garcia as his central defensive partner.
Jordi Alba: 8.5
Lost his place to Jose Gaya in the clash against Croatia. Regained a starting status this evening and exhibited his excellence from the left-hand flank. Kept on making crucial blocks to deny the Swiss, also kept on creating chances high up the pitch with his overlapping runs, cut insides, shooting and crossing traits. His effort from distance resulted in an accidental own goal from Zakaria.
Sergio Busquets: 7
Another calm and composed display from the veteran Barcelona star. Orchestrated the show from his deep-lying role as he kept on switching it down the wide to stretch Switzerland. Volunteered for the first kick of the tie-breaker, but his strike hit the woodwork.
Although it was a weak corner, Alba’s strike from the looping delivery was put into the back of his own net by Zakaria. Made some box to box runs but lacked the creative spark in the attacking third. Made way for Marcos Llorente around the 90th-minute mark.
Was terrific in the previous round but lacked the impact on this occasion. Covered a lot of ground but failed to make any noteworthy contribution before making way for Rodri late into the Extra Time.
Ferran Torres: 5.5
Could not replicate his display from the Croatia game. Was highly ineffective in the attacking third and had little contribution before being replaced by Mikel Oyarzabal moments before the final whistle.
Pablo Sarabia: 5
Scored in back to back games but was a shadow of his usual self down the flank. Was taken off to be replaced by Dani Olmo at halftime.
Alvaro Morata: 5.5
Scored a stunner in the previous outing to silence the critics. Remained isolated upfront, yet the decision of taking him off to bring in Gerard Moreno early into the second half made little sense either.
Spain Substitutes Vs Switzerland
Dani Olmo: 7.5
Was outstanding since coming on and came close to finding the net time and again. Converted from the spot and helped Spain recover from Busquets’ setback.
Gerard Moreno: 6
Could not beat past Yann Sommer since replacing Morata. But he made his contribution from the spot to make it 2-1 from Spain’s penultimate spot-kick.
Marcos Llorente: 5.5
Failed to make any notable impact since coming on.
Mikel Oyarzabal: 6
Failed to make any notable impact since coming but scored from the decisive penalty to seal a semifinal berth.
Thiago Alcantara: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
Played too little to warrant a rating. Got denied by Sommer from the spot.