Spain Wins Nations League in Dramatic Shoot-Out
Spain’s Dani Carvajal thrilled fans and heartbroken Croatia with a cheeky Panenka-style chip penalty, winning the UEFA Nations League. After an intense match which ended in a 0-0 tie following extra-time, Spain’s victory was all the more poignant, as the last time they won a championship was back in 2012, when Spain triumphed in Euro 2012.
Zlatko Dalic’s team, who finished as runners-up in the World Cup in 2018, and came third in 2022, have never won a major trophy and were hoping that success in the Nations League would be the crowning achievement of captain Luka Modric’s international career. Despite the Croatian team’s momentum and Luka’s enthusiasm, Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon proved to be an insurmountable obstacle, with skillful saves in a nail-biting penalty shoot-out.
This victory was a milestone for Luis de la Fuente. After facing heavy criticism in March due to a defeat by Scotland in Euro 2024 qualifying, La Roja’s triumphant win in the Nations League proved a turning point, while also avenging France’s 2021 brutal defeat of Spain.
Croatia fans had expected to dominate the stadium but the Spaniards managed to hold their own, emerging victorious in a close and fiercely contested battle. This victory is a huge confidence boost for Spain, and a deserved win for an exultant and unified team of soccer players.