Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon, who was named man of the match after saving two penalties in the 3-1 shootout win over Switzerland in the Euro 2020 quarter-final, said he would have handed the prize to his counterpart Yann Sommer. “I would have given Sommer the MVP title,” Simon told Spanish daily Marca after Spain booked a semi-final berth against Belgium or Italy at Wembley on Tuesday.
“Football has been fair, we are worthy winners. We must quickly rectify the mistakes and also keep our feet on the ground because a very difficult opponent presents himself to us, whoever he is,” he added. “In the semi-finals you have to have the mentality that every game is new. Winning the European Championship should be the only thing we think about now.”
Simon also explained his post-match celebrations with manager Luis Enrique. “I got into the celebration a bit, but that’s what my body told me to do. It was a euphoric moment.”
Spain won the penalty shoot-out after the game ended 1-1 after normal time and extra time, Simon avoiding shots on goal from Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji, while Switzerland’s Ruben Vargas took his shot at- above the bar. Sommer made several superb saves to help the 10-man Swiss, who sent off midfielder Remo Freuler for a 77th-minute stud challenge, survive until the shootout.
Spain took the lead in the eighth minute when Jordi Alba’s strike deflected Daniel Zakaria for an own goal, but the Swiss equalized in the 68th thanks to Xherdan Shaqiri. “I had a flashback when we conceded the goal because it was the same one we conceded here against Sweden three years ago,” Sommer said on the official UEFA website. .
“But I’m so proud of the team, of what we’ve accomplished here with the whole country behind us.” Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas tweeted “The Outstanding Simon” and former country defender Gaizka Mendieta also praised the keeper.
“Good goalkeepers for Unai Simon and this time Spain have had a bit more luck than Switzerland,” Mendieta said. “It was a very intense shootout, but we are in the semi-finals and that’s what matters. I’m very happy. It will be a very difficult game, but for now let’s take advantage of the fact that we have succeeded.” (Written by Zoran Milosavljevic; edited by Ken Ferris)
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