It may be too soon to say they’re back but 11 years on Spain, once the World and European champions, unbeatable over four years and three tournaments, lifted a trophy again – watched by the team that have come so close and might never get the chance to try again. The greatest generation Croatia have ever had, a nation of just 3.8m people and a team of extraordinary talent and strength, seemingly unbreakable resilience, have given football so much but weren’t given it back. Runners-up at the World Cup in 2018, third in 2022, on Sunday night Zlatko Dalic’s side fell in the final of the Nations League.
Defeated by France and Argentina then, now it was Spain. Just when they seemed to have done it again too, somehow seeing their way through to their place. This time, though, penalties deserted them. Four shootouts Croatia had won, in the last 16 and the quarter-finals of each of those World Cups, but having got there again, as they headed into sudden death Bruno Petkovic saw his spot-kick brilliantly saved by Unai Simón and Dani Carvajal scored to take this trophy to Madrid.
Written by Sid Lowe
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/jun/18/croatia-spain-nations-league-final-match-report under the title “Spain take Nations League final glory after shootout drama to beat Croatia”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.