A Look Back at How Spain Reached the Semi-Finals of Euro 2020

A Look Back at How Spain Reached the Semi-Finals of Euro 2020

There was heartbreak for Spain at Wembley Stadium in London on Tuesday night. After surprising many to even reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020, Luis Enrique’s side would have had their sights firmly set on Sunday’s showpiece. However, their bitter old foes Italy had other ideas, and in revenge for that crushing 4-0 defeat in the final of Euro 2012, they sent La Roja packing with their tails between their legs.

So, as attention quickly turns to this weekend’s main event, where Gareth Southgate’s men are slightly favoured ahead of the Azzurri in the Italy v England odds, read on as we take a look back at Spain’s rather turbulent Euro 2020 campaign…

Group Stage

With all three of Spain’s group games taking place at Estadio La Cartuja in Seville, Enrique’s side were tipped to wipe the floor with their Group E counterparts. However, like many of the top sides, Spain looked mediocre at best. They failed to find the back of the net in their opening game against Sweden (0-0), which resulted in boos and whistles from the crowd, and they weren’t much better in their second match against Poland. Álvaro Morata, the main target of the boo boys, opened the scoring in the first half, but Spain were pegged back early in the second 45 minutes when Robert Lewandowski found the back of the net. Gerard Moreno then missed from the spot as the game ended 1-1.

The return of Sergio Busquets, who tested positive for covid-19 just days before the start of Euro 2020, for Spain’s final group game against Slovakia seemed to kick a new lease of life into La Roja, and they ran riot in the sweltering heat. Morata’s missed penalty was quickly forgotten about when Martin Dúbravka palmed Pablo Sarabia’s cross into his own net and Aymeric Laporte made it 2-0 on the brink of half time. Sarabia and substitute Ferran Torres doubled Spain’s lead before another own goal, this time from Juraj Kucka, ended the 5-0 rout.

Round of 16

In finishing second behind Sweden in Group E, Spain were paired with Group D’s runners up Croatia, and this eight goal thriller at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen will likely be remembered as one of the games of the tournament. Despite looking the more dangerous early on, Spain gifted Croatia the lead as Pedri’s back-pass eluded the feet of Unai Simon and rolled into the back of the net. With Sarabia popping up with his second goal in as many matches, it wasn’t long until La Roja were back on level terms. And, when César Azpilicueta and Torres fired Spain into a 3-1 lead, it looked like the end of the road for Croatia.

However, Zlatko Dalić’s men wouldn’t give up that easily, and two goals from Mislav Oršić and Mario Pašalić in the last five minutes forced the game into extra-time — where two quickfire goals from Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal were enough to ensure a 5-3 victory for the Spanish.


Having just knocked out World Champions France, Switzerland promised to be a very difficult quarter-final clash for La Roja, and they came within just a penalty shootout of sending another European giant home. Again the beneficiaries of an own goal, Spain, who were made the brief favourites in the UEFA EUROs winner odds prior to the quarter-finals, took the lead as Jordi Alba’s long-range effort deflected in off Denis Zakaria. As we had seen so often in the tournament already, Enrique’s side were not able to make their dominance count and Xherdan Shaqiri made them pay with around 20 minutes left. Even with Remo Freuler sent off for a challenge on Moreno, Spain couldn’t break down the Swiss, who held on by the skin of their teeth for the final 15 minutes and the proceeding extra-time to force penalties.

In a penalty shootout where more penalties were missed than scored, Spain progressed to the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory from the spot.


It was the same old story for Spain in their semi-final encounter against Italy at Wembley. Unable to turn their superior possession and number of chances created into goals, they were punished by Federico Chiesa on the hour mark. Desperately seeking a goal, Italy were able to hit Spain on the counter on a couple of occasions, but to no avail. With just 10 minutes left to play, that equaliser did come for Spain, as Morata latched onto a through ball from Dani Olmo before sending his low effort into the bottom corner.

With neither side able to find a winner in extra-time, Spain were destined for another penalty shootout. However, it seems their luck had run out. Manuel Locatelli and Olmo missed their nation’s opening efforts from 12 yards, and with the scores poised at 3-2 in Italy’s favour, Morata went from hero to zero as his penalty was matched by Gianluigi Donnarumma. When Jorginho stepped up for the decisive kick, you just knew he was going to score, and he did, as coolly and calmly as you’d imagine.

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