Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Morata's late goal helped Spain beat rival Portugal to reach the Nations League semi-finals. CBC Sports

Luis Enrique was up for criticism for introducing Homecoming. He knew that another setback so close to the World Cup would question his team and their work.

Then a late goal changed all that, and it was all joy and admiration to go to La Rosa’s showcase event of soccer.

Spain scored in the 88th minute to end their winning streak against Portugal on Tuesday and advance in the Nations League to complete the last four lineup.

Spain coach Luis Enrique said, “In football the questions will always be the result of the results.” “If we had lost in the 85th, it would have been said that everything was a disaster. Everything is different now.”

A late goal from lvaro Morata led to a 1–0 victory that allowed Spain to overtake Portugal in Group A2 and join Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands in the final to be played in the Netherlands in June the following year.

“It’s great to be back in the Final Four,” said Luis Enrique. “Victory is the best antidote to any depression or sadness.”

Portugal had a late chance to get the point it needed but Cristiano Ronaldo missed close enough to see his scoreless streak reach three matches with the national team.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo shared his disappointment during the second half of his team’s Nations League match against Spain on Tuesday. (Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

After losing to France last year, Spain needed a win to return to the Final Four. Portugal won the inaugural edition of the competition at home in 2019, but have not progressed beyond the group stage since then.

Spain struggled to create chances until Dani Carvajal found Nico Williams inside the field and young Athletic Bilbao pulled the ball back across the box for an easy strike by Morata into the open net.

“Nico, in my second game with the national team, was crucial after the pass from Carvajal, and I had to push the ball into the goal,” Morata said. “We fought till the end.”

Spain was in control of the group until a 2-1 loss to Switzerland last weekend, while Portugal took first place with a 4-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Spain had not won Portugal in nearly two decades since a friendly in 2003. It got its first competitive victory against Portugal since a 2–1 World Cup qualifying victory in 1934.

The Iberian neighbors had drawn their last four matches, including a friendly. Spain’s last win against Portugal came in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals of the 2012 European Championships.

Spain also needed a win on the final day to make it to the last four last year, after beating Germany 6-0 at home.

Luis Enrique made seven changes to the starting lineup after the home loss to Switzerland, including Barcelona players Sergio Busquets, Gavi Péz and Pedri González, who were placed on the bench.

With successive victories over Portugal and Spain, Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 2–1 at home to avoid relegation to League B.

league b recap

Norway needed a home draw against Serbia to win their group, but lost 2–0 to Erling Haaland with Aleksandr Mitrovi. Mitrovic scored in the second half when Dusan Vlahovic opened the scoring before halftime.

Sweden, after four consecutive defeats, were relegated after a 1–1 draw at home against Slovenia.

Scotland won their group by holding Ukraine to a 0–0 draw, while Ireland finished second with a 3–2 win over Armenia.

other favorable results

Brazil beat Tunisia 5–1 in Paris, with Rafinha scoring twice and Neymar, Pedro and Richardson scoring one goal each.

A banana is thrown at Brazilian players celebrating Richardson’s goal in the first half at the Parc des Princes.

The Brazilian Football Federation condemned the incident and strengthened its stance to “fight against racism”.

Brazil was using the match to make a statement against racism, with players posing in front of a sign before kickoff that said “Without our black players, we would not have stars on our shirts” – the top five. The stars refer to the team crest which represents its five World Cup titles.

Elsewhere, Ecuador drew Japan 0–0 in Germany, while Uruguay beat Canada 2–0 in Slovakia, with a goal by Darwin Nez. Saudi Arabia and the United States drew 0-0 in Spain.

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