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'Unai Simon taught his team-mates a lesson with response' - Luis Enrique praises Spain goalkeeper after 'epic' Croatia win

5:34 PM EDT 6/28/21
Unai Simon Spain Croatia Euro 2020
The goalkeeper shook off his first-half error by pulling off some key saves as his side booked their place in the quarter-finals

Spain coach Luis Enrique has praised goalkeeper Unai Simon for the way he responded to his mistake in the Euro 2020 win against Croatia on Monday.

The Athletic Club shot-stopper gifted Croatia the lead in the last-16 tie when he failed to stop Pedri's pass back from the middle of the field. 

But Spain recovered and so did Unai Simon, as he made crucial saves while his side went on to lead 3-1 before Croatia struck twice late on to take it into extra time.

What has been said?

La Roja took charge again with Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal restoring their lead, but only after the shot-stopper played a pivotal role once again, making another fine save early on.

The coach says that the 24-year-old's attitude showed why they have faith in Unai Simon, who has been first-choice for the national team since making his debut last November. 

Luis Enrique told reporters: "[Unai Simon] has taught everyone a lesson. After a mistake, your mistake does not matter, but your attitude after the mistake.

"It is a lesson for all his team-mates and for all the children who want to play football."

How did the game go?

Spain bounced back from the goalkeeper's blunder just before half-time when a save from Dominik Livakovic bounced into Pablo Sarabia's path and the winger fired into the net.

Cesar Azpilicueta gave his side the lead just before the hour mark when he headed in his first goal for the national team, then Ferran Torres appeared to have wrapped up the win for Luis Enrique's men after 77 minutes.

But Croatia fought back in the final five minutes, with Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic taking the match into extra time.

Spain regained control in the first half by scoring the last two goals to ensure they progressed to the quarter-finals. 

"It was an epic match. It had positive and some negative things," the coach said.

"Football is a sport of mistakes. The two sets of fans have applauded the two teams for the effort and show that the two teams have given.

"I have lived through some very intense matches, but this is one of the most."

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