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Unai Simon hailed as a ‘hero’ after Spain reach Euro 2020 semi-finals

Unai Simon, Spain
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Spain manager Luis Enrique paid tribute to Unai Simon after the goalkeeper went from zero to hero in La Roja’s victory over Switzerland.

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Unai Simon stepped up to help Spain progress to the Euro 2020 semi-finals and Luis Enrique couldn’t be happier for the goalkeeper.

Simon made two decisive saves in the penalty shootout between Spain and Switzerland in Friday’s Euro 2020 quarter-final clash in Saint Petersburg, having drawn 1-1 after extra-time.

The Athletic Club goalkeeper’s saves allowed Spain to advance to the last four with a 3-1 win in the shootout and served as a perfect response to his error four days ago that gifted Croatia a goal.

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“Unai has already shown against Croatia what he is made of, but I was very happy to see him enjoy himself and to be the hero,” said Enrique in a post-match conference as per Marca.

“I said from the beginning, we were one of the eight teams that we can win it, that it without exaggeration and now we are into the final four.”

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Spain midfielder Koke added: “He [Simon] has such big balls.

“What happened to him against Croatia was unfortunate but what he did afterward was incredible, with great tranquility. I hope he continues at this level.”

A big deflection off Denis Zakaria from Jordi Alba’s shot handed Spain an eight-minute lead against Switzerland. Xherdan Shaqiri, however, equalized past the hour-mark to send the tie into extra-time, and eventually penalties.

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Enrique’s men will now face Italy in the Euro 2020 semi-finals next Tuesday.