Spain defeat Croatia in penalty shootout to win the UEFA Nations League

The Spain national team collected their first piece of silverware in over ten years after edging out Croatia in the UEFA Nations League finals. The Spaniards had a reason to celebrate, having missed several crucial trophies in that span. They had faced humiliation in several competitions, including the infamous 5-1 loss to the Netherlands. However, they came ready for the job this time and took the prize home.

The tough finals

Spain had to see Italy in a crunch semi-final clash. They played superbly and won convincingly by two goals to one. The final was a tense affair against world cup bronze medalists Croatia. Luka Modric and his crew were also looking for that coveted trophy. The game ended in a nil-nil draw by full-time, with both teams attacking furiously. A penalty shootout was set to be the decider.

A poorly taken 5th penalty by Croatia was eventually saved by Unai Simon, leaving Dani Carvajal with the decider. A cool-taken panenka was all that was needed to give Spain the glory it deserved. The drought has come to an end as the Euro 2024 approaches. They will now believe again that they can collect more trophies.

Dani Carvajal celebrates their win over Croatia in the UEFA Nations League finals. He celebrated the win with his in-law, Joselu (Real Madrid's new signing)
Dani Carvajal celebrates their win over Croatia in the UEFA Nations League finals. This was a victory as well for his in-law, Joselu (Real Madrid’s new signing)

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Special player celebrations

The trophy was undoubtedly special to everyone, but to a select few, it was more than special. Jesus Navas, the oldest Spain national team player, entered the books. He became the first player to win the World Cup, European Championship and the UEFA European Nations League. For a 37-year-old, this must have been a special moment. 

Rodri and Aymeric Laporte had just come fresh from winning the treble. They had never tasted national team success. This was a unique chance for them to make a mark in the national team. They did it with Rodri being voted the player of the tournament. This could further spur the balon d’or shouts that he is getting.

Dani Carvajal and Joselu, brothers-in-law, also won the trophy together. At 33, Joselu has joined the Spain national team after an impressive comeback performance. He had the privilege of playing with his brother-in-law, Carvajal and winning the trophy together. The emotions after the game showed how much the pair adore each other. Felicitations to Spain for a job well done on a special night.

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