Spain Wins Its First UEFA Nations League Title, Beating Croatia On Penalties In Rotterdam.

Spain are crowned champions of the UEFA Nations League for the first time in Rotterdam, after defeating Croatia in the final via a penalty shootout.

The encounter at the De Kuip stadium ended in a scoreless draw after 90 minutes which persisted through the 30 minutes extra-time.

There were few clear-cut opportunities in the 120 minutes, with solid defending and sure-handed saves defusing half chances. The best look was an Ansu Fati shot cleared off the line by Ivan Perisic with five minutes left in regulation.

Spanish Goalkeeper Unai Simon made two saves in the shootout, denying Lovro Majer and Bruno Petkovic, before substitute Dani Carvajal scored the winning penalty kick, as Spain ended an 11-year trophy drought.

The 31-year-old serial winner Cavajal, who has won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid, calmly chipped home Spain’s sixth kick of the shootout with a Panenka shot, as they claimed their first silverware since the 2012 European Championship.

The victory for La Roja, sees Captain Jordi Alba raises the trophy above his head, as they won the third edition of the Nations League.

Spain were Nations League runners-up two years ago to France and success will come as a major fillip after a disappointing World Cup in Qatar, where they were upset by Morocco in the last-16.

It was a glorious moment for Head Coach Luis de la Fuente, who was only appointed Luis Enrique's successor in December, a trophy-winning start to his tenure, in just his fourth game in charge of the senior team, earning his nation its first men's title since the 2012 Euros, where the team beat Italy 4-0 in the final.

Manchester City's Rodri who just won the his club's side first ever Champions League title, and treble less than eight days ago, is named the player of the tournament.

Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic is player of the final.

Rodri said after the game: "We are very happy. It has been a very difficult game and it took a lot from us.

"This generation promises a lot. We have been very strong mentally. There are things to improve, but we always win well. We must celebrate it."

For Croatia, it was a disappointing lose yet again, and a heartbreaking outcome for serial overachievers who four days on from their extra-time win over the host country Netherlands in the semis, as they fail to win their first trophy after coming close on several occasions.

Croatia have finished in third place at the 1998 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in Qatar, and they were runners-up behind France at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They fell short of a historic triumph again, this time in the cruelest fashion.

UEFA Nations League winners:

2019: Portugal (1-0 vs. Netherlands)

2021: France (2-1 vs. Spain)

2023: Spain (5-4 on pens vs. Croatia).

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