UEFA Nations League Final: Spain beat Croatia on penalties to complete Trophy set

UEFA Nations League

2010 FIFA World Cup winners and 2-time UEFA Euro Champions Spain defeated Croatia on penalties to become UEFA Nations League 2023 winners last night. Both of the teams locked horns against each other at the De Kuip stadium at Rotterdam with Spain prevailing to become winners of the 3rd edition.

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This match was expected to generate a lot of eyeballs and it truly went down the wire. While Croatia were attempting to win their first ever major International trophy, La Roja (Spain) were aiming to bury their disappointment from the previous Nations League final.

During the 2021 UEFA Nations League final, France won by 2-1 to blank all of Spain’s hopes. However, this time around it was the Croatian dream that crumbled in front of 42,000 people at Rotterdam. The scoreline remained 0-0 throughout the regulation time and extra time.

Both of the teams failed to break the deadlock despite creating chances after chances. Croatia had 5 shots on target out of dozen of efforts and Spain had only 2 shots on target out of 21 shots. Both the teams had equal passing accuracy and the Spaniards also enjoyed more possession (55%).

After 120 minutes without a difference maker, the game was decided on Penalties. For the first time in the short UEFA Nations League history, the winner was decided on penalties. Both of them scored their first 3 penalties before Lovro Majer of Croatia missed the 4th attempt.

Then Aymeric Laporte delayed the win for Spain by failing to net the goal before Bruno Petkovic missed Croatia’s 5th attempt. Dani Carvajal scored a brilliant Paneka to help Spain win their first trophy since the 2012 UEFA Euros.

Spain complete Trophy set following UEFA Nations League 2023 triumph

La Roja have now become only the 2nd European team to win the World Cup, Euros and the Nations League, thus their Trophy set is complete. Spain could have become the 1st team to do so if the did not lose against France 2 years ago in the 2021 Nations League final.

Spain’s first UEFA silverware came in 1984 when they won the Euros. Then in 2008 and 2012, they became back to back European champions and also became World champions for the first time in 2010 at South Africa.