Spain Ends Title Drought with Victory in Nations League
Spain's football team has won its first trophy in 11 years by defeating Croatia 5-4 in a penalty shootout in the Nations League finals. The Furia Roja secured the title against the World Cup's third-placed team, which included Croatian superstar Luka Modric. The victory is a consolation for Spain's national team, which was disappointed in the World Cup six months before. Spain had dominated the game, but neither team could score in the regular play time or extra time.
In front of over 30,000 Croatian fans, Dani Carvajal, a former Bayer Leverkusen and current Real Madrid player, scored the penalty for Spain to secure its first win in the Nations League. Meanwhile, Croatia's Lovro Majer and Bruno Petkovic missed their chances. Aymeric Laporte failed with the last penalty for Spain. Modric, who has won silver and bronze in the previous two World Cups, had aspired to glory with his national team, but his dream remains unfulfilled.
However, the emotional highlight of the match took place ten minutes in as Croatian fans sang a song to persuade Modric not to retire from international football. The 37-year-old midfielder had set a final-round goal for the Nations League. Still, the atmosphere at De Kuip could not produce a game of similar energy; there were few opportunities for either team to score. Both teams were well-matched, with the second-half producing entertaining play despite the low score.
Placing Third: Italy The finals were held in Rotterdam, with the Netherlands playing host, and Italy dismissed the hosts with their 3-2 win in the third-place playoff in Enschede. Federico Dimarco, Davide Frattesi, and Federico Chiesa scored for the visitors, while the Netherlands' Steven Bergwijn and Georginio Wijnaldum reduced the deficit twice. Italy previously secured third place in the competition two years before.