Spain win shootout to deny Croatia in Nations League final

Spain win shootout to deny Croatia in Nations League final

Spain clinched their first title in over a decade with a thrilling victory over Croatia in the Nations League final in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Dani Carvajal, a seasoned winner with five Champions League titles at Real Madrid, remained composed as he confidently converted Spain’s crucial sixth penalty kick in the shootout, securing the long-awaited silverware since their triumph in the 2012 European Championship.

The intense final at Feyenoord Stadium ended in a goalless draw even after extra time, leading to a heart-wrenching defeat on penalties for Croatia, who had high hopes after finishing as runners-up in the 2018 World Cup and securing a third-place finish in Qatar last year, but are yet to claim a major trophy.

In the shootout, Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon initially made a crucial save against Lovro Majer, allowing Aymeric Laporte an opportunity to seal the victory. Unfortunately, the defender’s shot crashed against the crossbar, resulting in a 4-4 deadlock after both teams had taken five penalties each. However, Simon once again came to the rescue with another vital save, denying Bruno Petkovic’s shot, and Carvajal then sealed the triumph with his successful spotkick.

Reflecting on the hard-fought match, Simon stated, “It was an incredibly close contest, and we were well aware that victory wouldn’t come easily.”

Spain’s triumph in the Nations League serves as a significant boost after their disappointing performance in the World Cup in Qatar, where they suffered a shocking defeat against Morocco in the round of 16. Two years ago, Spain had finished as runners-up in the Nations League, falling short to France.