Switzerland on Monday defeated world champions France 5-4 on penalties in the last 16 of the UEFA Euro 2020 as Kylian Mbappe missed the decisive spot-kick in the shootout following a thrilling 3-3 draw in Bucharest.
Mario Gavranovic equalized in the 90th minute as Switzerland came from two goals down before Yann Sommer saved Mbappe’s penalty to book Switzerland a quarter-final clash against Spain.
“It was an incredible evening. I am so proud of the team,” goalkeeper Sommer said. “At 3-1 nobody believed in us anymore, but before the match we said we’ll fight until the end whatever happens.”
Haris Seferovic had given coach Vladimir Petkovic’s Switzerland a shock lead 15 minutes into the game, but Ricardo Rodriguez’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Hugo Lloris early in the second half.
Karim Benzema, recalled to the France squad for the tournament after a five-and-a-half-year international exile, then struck a quick-fire double to put the Euro 2016 finalists back on track.
Paul Pogba’s sensational curling effort made it 3-1, but Switzerland forced extra time as Seferovic grabbed his second of the game before Gavranovic leveled in the final minute.
Switzerland converted all five of their penalties before Sommer dived to his right to turn away Mbappe’s kick, as Switzerland won a major tournament knockout tie for first time in 83 years.
“The two goals came very quickly after the missed penalty. For normal players it’s almost impossible to come back from, but today we were a great team and everyone gave it everything,” Petkovic said.
Lloris conceded France paid the price for failing to hold on to their two-goal lead.
“It’s painful, even more so after a penalty shootout where it becomes a lottery,” Lloris said. “The only regret we can have is that at 3-1 we need to manage the match better. We’ve been able to close it out in the past few years.”
Somehow the drama in Bucharest topped that in Copenhagen earlier, when Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal scored extra-time goals as Spain beat Croatia 5-3 in an epic tie to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
Spain had looked to be cruising into the last eight at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen thanks to goals from Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres, which had put coach Luis Enrique’s side 3-1 ahead with 13 minutes remaining in normal time.
However, substitute Mislav Orsic pulled one back following a chaotic goalmouth scramble in the 85th minute and then supplied the cross from which Mario Pasalic headed Croatia level in the second minute of stoppage time to take the match to the additional half-hour.
Spain eventually prevailed — after some scares — in a thrilling contest with a fine finish from under-fire forward Morata and Oyarzabal’s breakaway strike giving Enrique’s side the win their overall play deserved.
Spain had not won a major tournament knockout match since they thrashed Italy in the UEFA Euro 2012 final.
“We suffered a lot. It’s been many tournaments since we last won a knockout-round match and we managed to do it against the World Cup runners-up,” Azpilicueta said.
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