Dani Carvajal chipped residence a Panenka penalty to win Spain the Nations League on Sunday, with a 5-4 shoot-out victory over Croatia, after a tense match completed 0-0 following extra-time. Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon denied Lovro Mayer and Bruno Petkovic from the spot, earlier than Carvajal cheekily chipped residence to earn La Roja their first trophy since Euro 2012 and break Croatian hearts. Zlatko Dalic’s facet, runners-up on the World Cup in 2018 and third in 2022, have by no means received a serious trophy and have been hoping Nations League success would cap a glittering worldwide profession for captain Luka Modric, who performed his 166th worldwide recreation.
The victory is a confidence enhance for brand spanking new Spain coach Luis de la Fuente after heavy criticism in March after a defeat by Scotland in Euro 2024 qualifying. It additionally avenged their 2021 closing defeat by France.
“For us it was a novel alternative, we went out early in one other match (on the World Cup in Qatar) and at this time we needed to take benefit,” Actual Madrid defender Carvajal informed Spanish broadcaster TVE.
“We had confidence with the penalties and it went effectively, I knew how I used to be going to shoot it, and I knew I used to be going to be sixth… I needed to take it Panenka fashion and it went effectively.”
Dalic warned over 25,000 Croatian followers have been anticipated to journey to Rotterdam and so they crammed the vast majority of the stadium, De Kuip a sea of purple and white checkered squares, save for a modest space of Spanish followers.
The Croatians chanted Modric’s identify within the tenth minute, matching his shirt quantity, a plea for him to not retire from worldwide responsibility after the match, as had been rumoured.
On the pitch Spain made the early operating, with Gavi drilling narrowly huge after urgent furiously to win the ball again.
Simply when the sport began to fall right into a slight lull, underneath the pink haze of smoke from Croatian flares, Spain have been practically caught out by Josip Juranovic’s lengthy ball excessive for Andrej Kramaric.
The striker ran via on Unai Simon’s aim however simply as he pulled the set off, Aymeric Laporte made an outstanding lunging block.
Regardless of 14 objectives within the three preceeding video games, the primary half completed goalless, simply as within the prior two Nations League finals, received by Portugal and France in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
– Tight and tense –
La Roja have been unable to muster a shot on track within the first 80 minutes of an especially tense battle.
Mario Pasalic headed huge earlier than being changed by Petkovic, who was Croatia’s semi-final star towards the Netherlands — to the extent one Croatian newspaper described him as “Bruce Willis in soccer boots”. It didn’t show the case