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EURO 2020: Relief for Spain, heartbreak for Switzerland 

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Three-time champions Spain survived another scare to beat 10-man Switzerland in a dramatic penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship.

Swiss substitute Ruben Vargas was in tears at full-time after he blasted his penalty over the bar, allowing Mikel Oyarzabal to score the decider for Spain.

Spain, ranked sixth in the world, also needed extra time to defeat Croatia in the last 16 despite leading 3-1 with five minutes of normal time to play.

They were in front in St Petersburg against Switzerland too – midfielder Denis Zakaria deflected Jordi Alba’s shot into his own net to give Spain an early lead.

Swiss captain Xherdan Shaqiri equalised following a mistake at the back by Spain but team-mate Remo Freuler was sent off nine minutes later.

They held on to force extra time and a shootout but missed three spot kicks which ultimately proved costly.

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Spain will face the winner of Belgium v Italy (20:00 BST kick-off) at Wembley on Tuesday in the semi-finals.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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