European Cup 2020: Luis Enrique never doubted the victory from the penalty spot
Even though Spain crashed in their last World Cup campaign on penalties and missed their previous five shots on goal, coach Luis Enrique never doubted Saturday’s shootout against Switzerland in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
“It was the quietest penalty shootout I have ever seen because we had done all of our homework, all of our practice, and there was nothing more for the staff and me to do,” a- he said after Spain beat 3-1 in the shootout.
RELATED | EURO 2020: Spain beats Switzerland on penalties to reach semi-finals
“We all had great faith in (goalkeeper) Unai (Simon), and after that all we could do was watch him and accept the result,” he added.
His team didn’t make it much easier, with both Sergio Busquets and Rodri missing. But Simon saved Switzerland’s Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar while Ruben Vargas hammered the bar, leaving Spaniard Mikel Oyarzabal to score the decisive penalty and reserve Spain’s place in the last four.
“People say the penalties are a lottery but it’s not like that at all,” Enrique said at his press conference. “It all comes into play – the fitness, the ability to handle the pressure and the goalies. You can’t train them, but when you win it really feels good,” he added.
Remo Freuler was sent off for Switzerland in the 77th minute but Spain failed to make their power play count and the score remained 1-1 after extra time. The Spaniards finished with 27 attempts on goal, including Gerard Moreno’s three misses in overtime, and Enrique knows his players will have to produce a much better performance in two more matches if they are to lift the trophy.
RELATED | EURO 2020: Spaniard Unai Simon salutes his Swiss counterpart Yann Sommer
“At 1-1 the game became dangerous because we did not generate enough chances,” he said. “They are a very well-trained team. The expulsion completely changed the game. I think it could have been a more balanced game with 11 against 11. But we deserved to win against 10 men,” he said. added.
Spain now face Italy at Wembley on Tuesday in a second leg of the 2012 final. “I said from the start that we are one of the seven or eight teams who, without exaggeration, could win this trophy – now we’re one of the four, and that’s fantastic.
“Now we are just focusing on qualifying for the final,” he said.