3 things we learned from Switzerland v. Spain

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Spain beat 10-man Switzerland 3-1 on penalty kicks after a tight, tense EURO 2020 quarterfinal in St. Petersburg.

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An own goal by Denis Zakaria gave Spain an early lead but Xherdan Shaqiri equalized for a spirit Swiss side in the second half.

Remo Freuler was sent off in the second half and despite Switzerland hanging on for penalty kicks, Spain prevailed and reached the semifinals.

Luis Enrique’s side have rode their luck in this tournament, but they are in the final four.

They will play at Wembley on Saturday for a place in the final.

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3 things we learned, Switzerland – Spain

1. Early goal limits Spain’s creativity: It was not a good thing Spain scored early in this game. Just like in their draw against Poland, an early goal made them sit back and try to possess the ball and hold on to what they had. That doesn’t suit them and as we saw against Croatia in the Round of 16, Enrique’s side are much better when they are involved in an end-to-end clash. Their creativity and attacking instincts were lacking the entire game and they snuck through on penalty kicks.

2. Red card harsh for Freuler: It was a little rash, but he got plenty of the ball and caught Moreno. It was an orange card, at worst. That red card should have been overturned and it would have swung the game in Switzerland’s favor. At that moment they were creating chances galore and were in the ascendancy. They had to sacrifice Shaqiri for a defensive player and had he been on, he would have taken a penalty kick and that would have made a difference. Switzerland added a lot to this tournament and deserved better than a red card impacting their heroics.

3. Semifinal opponents will fancy chances: Spain are not a vintage side and getting to the semifinals is a massive achievement for them. They keep the ball well but you get the sense when they play either Belgium or Italy, they will come unstuck. There is just a few mistakes in this side, like for Switzerland’s goal, and a lack of a clinical edge. When push comes to shove, this young Spain side isn’t ready yet.

Man of the Match: Yann Sommer – Kept Switzerland in it with some fine saves and came so close to being the penalty shootout hero once again.

Spain got off to a flying start as a cross was cleared to Jordi Alba and his tame effort towards goal was deflected into his own net by Denis Zakaria with Sommer rooted to the spot.

Koke whipped a free kick over as Spain pushed for a second, then Breel Embolo was forced off through injury in a big blow for the Swiss.

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Elvedi then cleared with Morata lurking and from that corner Cesar Azpilicueta headed straight at Sommer, as Spain looked much more dangerous in the first half.

Manuel Akanji did put a free header over from a corner and Elvedi nodded over from another.

In the second half Switzerland continued to look dangerous from corners as Zakari headed inches wide.

Zuber almost equalized as he snuck in at the near post but Unai Simon pushed wide.

Moments later Switzerland did equalize as a mix-up in defense from Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte allowed Remo Freuler in and Shaqiri swept home.

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Freuler was then shown a straight red card for a studs up tackle on Gerard Moreno, as he got the ball but followed through, and VAR did not overturn the decision from Michael Oliver.

Switzerland held on for extra time and battled hard, as Moreno flashed a shot wide after good play out wide.

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Alba then had a shot pushed over as Spain did all the pressing in extra time, then a shot deflected off Moreno and wide.

Sommer denied Moreno’s volley when he was clean through, as Switzerland hung on for penalty kicks.

But three misses from the Swiss allowed Mikel Oyarzabal to be the hero as he scored the winning spot kick to send Spain to the semifinals.

3 things we learned from Switzerland v. Spain originally appeared on NBCSports.com