The victory is a confidence boost for new Spain coach Luis de la Fuente after heavy criticism in March after a defeat by Scotland in Euro 2024 qualifying. It also avenged their 2021 final defeat by France.
Dani Carvajal minced home a Panenka penalty to win Spain the Nations League on Sunday, with a 5- 4 shoot- out palm over Croatia, after a tense match finished 0- 0 followin gextra-time. Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon denied Lovro Mayer and Bruno Petkovic from the spot, before Carvajal cheekily minced home to earn La Roja their first jewel since Euro 2012 and break Croatian hearts. Zlatko Dalic’s side, runners- up at the World Cup in 2018 and third in 2022, have no way won a major jewel and were hoping Nations League success would limit a spangling transnational career for captain Luka Modric, who played his 166th transnational game.
The palm is a confidence boost for new Spain trainer Luis de la Fuente after heavy review in March after a defeat by Scotland in Euro 2024 qualifying. It also redressed their 2021 final defeat by France.
“For us it was a unique occasion, we went out beforehand in another event (at the World Cup in Qatar) and moment we had to take advantage,” Real Madrid protector Carvajal told Spanish broadcaster TVE.
“We had confidence with the penalties and it went well, I knew how I was going to shoot it, and I knew I was going to be sixth. I wanted to take it Panenka style and it went well.”
Dalic advised over 25,000 Croatian suckers were anticipated to travel to Rotterdam and they filled the maturity of the colosseum, De Kuip a ocean of red and white checkered places, save for a modest area of Spanish suckers.
The Croatians chanted Modric’s name in the 10th nanosecond, matching his shirt number, a plea for him not to retire from transnational duty after the event, as had been rumoured.
On the pitch Spain made the early handling, with Gavi drilling hardly wide after pressing furiously to win the ball reverse.
Just when the game started to fall into a slight pause, under the pink haze of bank from Croatian flares, Spain were nearly caught out by Josip Juranovic‘s long ball over the top for Andrej Kramaric.
The striker ran through on Unai Simon’s thing but just as he pulled the detector, Aymeric Laporte made a superb submersing block.
Despite 14 pretensions in the three preceeding games, the first half finished goalless, just as in the previous two Nations League tests, won by Portugal and France in 2019 and 2021 independently.
La Roja were unfit to muster a shot on target in the first 80 twinkles of an extremely tense battle.
Mario Pasalic headed wide before being replaced by Petkovic, who was Croatia’s semi-final star against the Netherlands– to the extent one Croatian review described him as” Bruce Willis in football thrills”. It didn’t prove the case this time.
Spain transferred on their own semi-final match- winner in response, with Joselu replacing Morata, while Ansu Fati also entered the fray.
It was the youthful Barcelona forward who came closest to scoring in the 90 twinkles for either side, with his low strike cleared off the line by the active Ivan Perisic.
Croatia appealed in vain for a penalty after Nacho tangled with Borna Sosa, and Spain cover Dani Olmo, who spent six times with Dinamo Zagreb, pounded over asextra-time continued in the same tight pattern.
With the sides inseperable, the match was decided on penalties.
After Simon denied Mayer, Aymeric Laporte had the chance to earn palm but hit the bar.
Athletic Bilbao breach Simon slung himself to his right at full stretch to save from Petkovic and set the scene for Carvajal to spark Spanish fests.
They came the alternate country to have won the World Cup, Euros and Nations League, after France in 2021.
“We are so happy, it was a really tough game and this is so delicate to do,” said Manchester City’s titleholders League final goal scorer Rodri, man of the match.
“This generation promises a lot. We were veritably strong mentally. There are effects to ameliorate, but winning is always good– we’ve to celebrate.”
Croatia were left with the taste of disappointment yet again, but Dalic said another tribune finish was a positive sign.
“We have won orders, one after another, that is great– three orders is history, a really great thing to have achieved,” said Dalic. Know More Football News…