Spain were a dominant force in World football in the past two decades, with the EURO 2008, World Cup 2010 and EURO 2012. The Spanish tutelage had toned down in the past few years with a number of players from the Golden generation retiring. However, the current young Spanish crop of players can start a new story a victory against all odds in this year’s European championships.
La Roja’s are one of the teams who are into the semi-finals of EURO 2020 and have a genuine chance of winning their first major trophy since 2012.
Spain’s Progress from the Group Stages-
Spain were placed in Group-E alongside the likes of Sweden, Poland and Slovakia. They enjoyed the added luxury of playing all of their group matches at home- Seville’s La Cartuja Stadium. They started off their campaign in unconvincing fashion with two consecutive draws against Sweden and Poland. Luis Enrique copped a lot of criticism as his side failed to score goals against lesser opponents and a number of people questioned his tactics as the manager.
With just 2 points from two games, Spain needed to win their final match against Slovakia to make their place in the Round of 16. The La Roja’s won convincingly against Slovakia, scoring 5 goals in the match after just scoring 1 in the last 180 minutes. The Spanish team have not looked back since then and have found their golden touch which has brought them into the semi-finals so far. They qualified runners-up from the group behind Sweden and were drawn against Croatia in the Round of 16.
Spain vs Croatia – Round of 16
Spain and Croatia played out a thriller of a match in the Round of 16 stages, which can also be deemed as the match of the tournament. The game looked all set and won for Luis Enrique’s side after they took a 3-1 lead in the 70th minute of the match. But the Croatians scored twice in the next 20 minutes to send the match into extra-time.
Luis Enrique’s side though never lost hope and scored in the first half of extra-time twice to win the match with a score-line of 5-3. With that they secured a qualification into the quarter-finals and were looking towards a prospect of facing France, but Switzerland had other ideas and they pulled of a surprise victory over the reigning champions.
Spain vs Switzerland – Quarter Finals
The La Roja’s had to endure successive matches which went into extra time to grind out a hard fought entry into the semi-finals of the competition. Jordi Alba had given Spain an early lead in the 8th minute of the match, but it was cancelled out in the second half by Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri. Freuler received a red card in the second half of the match but Luis Enrique’s side failed to score the winner as normal time as Switzerland’s Yan Sommer was in god-mode between the sticks for the Swiss.
The match went into extra-time and then penalties and Spain won 3-1 in the spot-kicks department. Sergio Busquets and Rodri missed their penalty kicks to Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon made 2 stops cover up their mistakes. Switzerland’s Vargas sent the ball into the high sky and sparked which marked the qualification of the La Roja’s into the last four.
Spain will now take on Italy in the first semi-final of EURO 2020 at the Wembley Stadium in England on the 7th of July. The winners of the tie would face either Denmark or England in the finals of the coveted European Championships.
Spain’s Journey to the Semi-Finals of EURO 2020
|Group-Match||Slovakia||5-0||Dubravka(O.G), Aymeric Laporte, Ferran Torres|
Pablo Sarabia, Kucka (O.G)
|Round of 16||Croatia||5-3||Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ferran Torres|
Alvaro Morata, Mikel Oyarzabal
|Quarter Finals||Switzerland||1(3)-1(1)||Denis Zakaria (O.G)|