Painful penalty - GulfToday

Painful penalty


Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon stops a penalty shot from Switzerland’s Manuel Akanji (unseen) during a penalty shootout after extra time during the Euro 2020 quarter-final match on Friday. Associated Press

As the battle for Euro 2020 supremacy heats up, most matches seem to end up in a tie-breaker with the winner decided in a penalty shootout  (“Spain edge Switzerland on penalties to reach semis,” July 3, Gulf Today).

The quarter-final encounters have been tightly contested with some teams coming from behind to push the tie into extra-time after a late show of prowess.

Penalty shoot-outs follow. And when that happens it’s always tragic. A shoot-out is unfair in many ways. The possibility of knocking out a favourite out of the tournament is high, extremely high. A fraction of the minute, one error and it’s all over.

French striker Kylian Mbappe encapsulates the trauma of a failed penalty. Without doubt Switzerland played a great match. And deserved to get to the next round. But not through a Mbappe error.

That Switzerland is a force to reckon with was also evident in their face-off with Spain. Goalkeeper Unai Simon was the hero as Spain edged past 10-man Switzerland 3-1 on penalties. The Swiss side played for 43 minutes a man down as Simon made two saves in the shoot-out to help keep Spain’s bid for a record fourth European crown alive.

The tournament also witnessed a few more upsets which saw title contenders Portugal and Germany shown the door early on.

Ralph R — By email

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