Spain’s penalty shoot-out saviour Unai Simon vows to FORGET his spot-kick heroics, just as he did with his howler against Croatia… as he admits Swiss stopper Yann Sommer would be his Man of the Match
Spain‘s shoot-out hero Unai Simon said he will forget his penalty stops against Switzerland just as quickly as he put his gaffe in the last-16 game against Croatia behind him.
‘You have to forget the errors quickly, but you have to forget the successes quickly too because we have a semi-final to face now,’ said the Spain keeper.
Simon celebrated wildly, embracing coach Luis Enrique after Mikel Oyarzabal scored the winning spot-kick.
Goalkeeper Unai Simon (No 23) has vowed to forget his penalty heroics against Switzerland
Simon made two saves in the shoot-out to help Luis Enrique’s Spain progress to the semi-final
He said: ‘I did get a little bit carried away at the end. I am not usually like that but it was all the rage and relief coming out. It was a moment’s euphoria – now we have to reset for the next game.’
Asked who he would have given the Man-of-the-Match award to he replied: ‘Yann Sommer’.
His opposite number had denied Spain time and again but was outdone by Simon in the shoot-out.
‘We suffered but we didn’t expect anything else. It was a quarter-final we knew it wouldn’t be a procession,’ said Spain coach Luis Enrique who when asked about his keeper added: ‘We already knew what Unai is made of.’
Athletic Bilbao’s Simon celebrated wildly at the final whistle, lifting his coach Enrique aloft
The Swiss had scored their last five penalties, Spain had missed their last five and yet courtesy of Simon and scorers Gerard Moreno, Dani Olmo and Oyarzabal they went through.
‘You have bad things going through your head walking up to the penalty area but from the moment I put the ball down I knew what I was going to do,’ said Oyarzabal.
‘I was confident I was going to score it. No one gave us a chance after the way we started the tournament but in football things can change quickly and now we feel that we have all of Spain behind us. We have reached this point and we want more. We are one step from the final.’
One Spain player who didn’t take a spot-kick was Pedri, who was taken off just before the end of extra time.
The 18-year-old had run Simon close for Spain’s man-of-the-match in another hugely impressive performance. ‘I don’t get tired. I try to rest as well as I can between games,’ said the Barcelona player.
Asked what he would have told someone telling him three months ago he would be ever-present in the team now one step from the final of Euro 2020, he replied: ‘I would have said they were crazy.’