The Athletic goalkeeper reissues the two saves of the legendary captain during the quarterfinals against Italy of Euro 2008. Spain has 12 goals, as many as in his last two titles

Unai Simn hugs Luis Enrique during the celebration.PABLO GARCARFEF

A Unai Simn The celebration got a bit out of hand. It is not an external appreciation, it was the doorman himself who recognized his excess in the midst of ecstasy. When he saw approaching Luis Enrique, immersed in the noise on the grass of the Russian stadium, he gave her a tremendous hug that almost broke him in two. I have come a little up in the celebration, but it is what my body asked me. I’m not usually like that. It is a moment of euphoria and I have taken out all the anger and desire, detailed the hero of Spain. His dance under sticks, in a memorable penalty shootout, is already part of the best passages in Spanish football. A dance from which the illusion of a team that steps into the semifinals of the Eurocup for the fifth time in its history sprang.

If in 2008 it was Iker Casillas, with his indelible flights against Italy, on Ernst Happel in Vienna (he was also guilty against Portugal, in 2012), yesterday, 13 years later, Simon, who was just a kid at that time, drew his first great feat with La Roja. Casillas himself would send him a congratulation through social networks. Against Betis par two in a round and you have to count the one they threw out. I think that a small penalty too, he recalled exultingly, after receiving the award for the best player of the match. An MVP that he would have assigned to someone else. I would have given the MVP to Yann Sommer, which has made very good saves, admit with humility. At the 1996 Eurocup, with Luis Enrique on the bench with Javier Clemente, the selection was unable to overcome the then damn barrier of the quarterfinals, when falling in the penalty shootout against England (4-2). They were different times.

Together with Sommer he walked to the bottom where the ticket to Wembley would be decided. There, with the public devoted to the Swiss cause, he became the wall that until then had been the Swiss goalkeeper. Simon guessed the intentions of Manuel Akanji Y Fabian Schr and he went crazy with his dance step, in the purest style Bruce Globbelaar, a Ruben vargas, whose shot took off into space. Sommer’s shadow was vanished thanks to his powerful light and, incidentally, he prevented the mistakes of Sergio Busquets Y Rodri had any significance. Unai has such eggs, I hope he continues at this level, I praised him Boil, third captain, who lived the penalties from the side, where he enjoyed that dance with which he managed to make Switzerland tremble. That sonorous blunder against Croatia has been buried by its flashes under sticks.

Unai Simn, after Akanji's mistake in the fourth turn of the Swiss.
Unai Simn, after Akanji’s mistake in the fourth turn of the Swiss.EFE

“Things that work”

As happened in the 2020 Copa del Rey final, played in April on the lawn of the La Cartuja stadium, Mikel Oyarzabal I ended up deciding with a penalty shot. His speciality. That night, curiously, his victim was Simon. I told Unai it was going to be her day. When it has failed spark plug I said Simon was going to stop three. I have been the fifth but it is everyone’s job, De Gea, Robert, the goalkeeping coach … These are things that are worked on, the playmaker enthusiastically proclaimed.

The batch not only elevated Simon but alleviated the ills of Gerard Moreno. The forward dared to take one of the penalties after crashing a handful of times into Sommer. What seemed like a cursed extension to him turned into a catharsis. Nor did he weigh that failure against Poland, from that same position, after two games sitting on the bench. Gerard grabbed the ball, looked at the Swiss goalkeeper and let out a cry of liberation. When you fail, you have to be mentally strong. The first bummer is me. Now I am somewhat liberated, if I had not eaten much more my head, recognized the ram, who had replaced after the break lvaro Morata. I’ve had a few occasions, it was on my mind. I wanted to score the penalty with all my soul. So it was.

Slo Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets They have experienced the height from which the Spanish team is now looming. It happened in 2012, in that last championship that Spain won. That was Alba’s last goal in a European Championship. And it will continue to be because his shoe against Switzerland, deflected by Denis ZakariaDespite being recognized as his work in the imposing video scoreboards of the luxurious Russian venue, he ended up assigned to his rival by UEFA to his rival. Something that served to equalize the record of 12 goals that the national team had achieved in the 2008 and 2012 Euro Cups. You know how that ended.

Spain returns to Madrid. To his headquarters in Las Rozas where Luis Enrique has assembled his plan for a month. Between Copenhagen and Saint Petersburg, where fortune ended up giving him a wink yesterday, the national team has made the leap. Overcoming adversity is making the group stronger and stronger, Koke breaks up, taking a last look at the goalkeeper where, minutes before, Unai Simn had certified the growth of this young team.

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