Spain scored a late equaliser to take the match into extra-time and subsequently penalties, where they lost 2-4 to Italy in the semifinals of Euro 2020.
On the back of Spain’s heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 semifinal, Luis Enrique insisted that he is not sad as he praised the contribution of the whole team. He also went on to praise Alvaro Morata, who missed the crucial penalty in the shootout on Tuesday night. Morata has endured a roller-coaster Euro 2020. He was heavily criticized in the initial stages of the tournament, but was at the top of his game in the last few matches and also came on as a substitute to score a late equaliser at Wembley on Tuesday, sending the semifinal into extra-time.
However, when the match entered the penalty shootout, the striker missed the crucial spot-kick, allowing Italy to win it 4-2 on the night. Speaking about Morata, the Spain head coach said, “He has an abductor issue. It says a lot about his personality that, despite that, he wanted to take a penalty. He has gone through some tough times during this competition but he was brilliant, he created a lot of uncertainty in the Italian ranks, he scored, he was excellent. I haven’t been able to see him because he went to doping control but I will go and see him now.”
The Wembley defeat marks the end of a solid tournament by Spain. With very little expectations on their side, the Spaniards did well to reach the last four. They also seemed to be in control for most of the game against Italy but struggled to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, Italy will next face England or Denmark in the final.
After the match, Enrique was satisfied with his team’s performance in the tournament. “It’s not a sad night for me, not at all. Of course there is disappointment, but that’s football,” he added. “You have to be able to win and lose. We were very pleased to win the shootout in the quarter-finals but we have to congratulate our opponents.
“I said at the start we were one of eight teams that could win the title, I wasn’t wrong about that. We go home knowing we competed and were one of the best teams at the competition. I’d say it would be an A- for my players, an A+ if we’d won. We’ve been speaking about how we’d like to play at the Euros for many months, and the players bought into it, so I have no complaints. We’ve shown we’re a team and we’re going to continue doing that.”
Meanwhile, Spain captain Sergio Busquets was also happy with his team’s display and said they were the “dominant side” on the night. “Everyone made Italy big favourites here, but we demonstrated that we were superior to them. We imposed the things we wanted to here: owning the ball, winning it back as quickly as possible when we lost it,” he added.
“In general across this match, I think we were the dominant side. But football’s like this, and all we can do is congratulate Italy. There’s a year-and-a-half until the next World Cup but we are on the right road, for sure. This is a great national team and the only thing missing was getting to the final, as we were determined to.”