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‘Panenka’ penalty secures Spain its first international trophy for 11 years

Spain celebrated its first international trophy in 11 years after beating Croatia on penalties in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday.

Dani Carvajal’s cheeky ‘Panenka’ penalty settled the shootout after the game had finished 0-0 after extra-time inside the De Kuip stadium, Netherlands.

The Real Madrid defender showed nerves of steel to send the goalkeeper the wrong way before chipping the ball down the middle of the goal – a technique named after Czech football great Antonin Panenka.

“I saw that he [the goalkeeper] threw himself on every penalty kick and just as I was going to hit the ball, I saw that he dived,” Carvajal told reporters after the game.

“I slowed down my kick to not give him time to react. The most important thing is it went in and we’re champions.”

Aymeric Laporte missed the chance to win the title for Spain moments before after goalkeeper Unai Simon had saved from Lovro Majer.

The Manchester City defender sent his penalty smashing against the crossbar but Simon was on hand again to save from Croatia’s Bruno Petkovic, handing Carvajal the decisive kick.

Carvajal’s goal sent the Spanish fans into a frenzy, as they celebrated the team’s first international trophy since it won the European Championships in 2012.

Croatian heartbreak

The jubilant scenes followed a rather dour, goalless game with neither side playing particularly well.

Croatia certainly had the most backing inside the stadium but its fans looked heartbroken at the final whistle.

It was also arguably the last chance for Croatia captain Luka Modric to cap off his brilliant international career with a trophy.

Modric inspired his country to the World Cup final in 2018 and to third place at Qatar 2022, but has fallen short of lifting silverware.

It remains to be seen whether the 37-year-old will retire from international duty before having another chance in an international final.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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