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  • Sports - Football - Gossips
  • Updated: June 19, 2023

UEFA Nations League: Unai Simon's Heroics Win Title For Spain, Croatia Finish Second

UEFA Nations League: Unai Simon's Heroics Win Title For Spai

Unai Simon

Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon played a pivotal role in the victory, denying Lovro Mayer and Bruno Petkovic from the spot for La Roja to secure victory over Croatia in the Nations League final.

The match ended in a goalless draw after extra time, leading to a tense penalty shoot-out that ended 5-4 in Spain's favour.

The high-stakes clash saw both teams giving their all, with Croatia aiming to claim their first major trophy and Spain eager to break their trophy drought since Euro 2012. As the match unfolded, it became apparent that every moment mattered in this historic encounter.

Defender Carvajal displayed audacious confidence and executed a perfectly timed chip to secure the decisive goal that brought joy to the Spanish camp and shattered Croatian hopes.

For Croatia, the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow. Zlatko Dalic's squad, having reached the World Cup final in 2018 and finished in third place in 2022, had set their sights on Nations League glory. The team's captain, Luka Modric, had been aiming to cap off his illustrious international career with a major title. However, their dreams were dashed once again, leaving the Croatian faithful heartbroken.

The triumph not only provided Spain with their first Nations League trophy but also served as a confidence boost for newly appointed coach Luis de la Fuente.

The victory allowed him to silence critics who had questioned his abilities following a disappointing loss to Scotland during the Euro 2024 qualifying stage. Furthermore, the win served as sweet revenge for Spain, as it avenged their defeat in the 2021 final against France.

With over 25,000 Croatian fans filling the majority of the stadium, the atmosphere in Rotterdam was electric. The sea of red and white checkered squares created a captivating visual, with Spanish supporters occupying a smaller section of the stands.

During the 10th minute of the match, Croatian fans passionately chanted Modric's name, expressing their desire for the veteran midfielder to continue representing the national team. Rumours had circulated that Modric might retire after the tournament, and the fans' heartfelt plea reflected their admiration for his exceptional contributions to Croatian football.

The game itself witnessed an intense battle, with Spain initially dictating the tempo. Gavi came close to scoring early on but narrowly missed the target. As the match progressed, Croatia seized the momentum, posing a threat through Josip Juranovic's long ball to Andrej Kramaric. However, Aymeric Laporte's outstanding lunging block denied Croatia a potential breakthrough.

Croatia's Ivan Perisic attempted to test Unai Simon with two powerful headers, but the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper showcased his skills and made crucial saves.

Ultimately, the first half concluded without any goals, mirroring the scorelines of the previous two Nations League finals, which were won by Portugal and France in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

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