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Spain boss Luis Enrique had benched Cesar Azpilicueta for Spain’s first two games of the European Championship, but they failed to get a win in those games.
Azpilicueta made his first start in Spain’s last group game against Slovakia, and the Spanish side were 5-0 winners.
Azpilicueta again started against Croatia in the Euro 2020 round of 16 clash, and it was an eight-goal thriller which went on until extra time. After 90 minutes of play, both sides were tied at 3-3, with Spain going on to win 5-3.
Azpilicueta scored the third goal for Spain in this game as he helped his country to a massive victory.
It was the first international goal for Azpilicueta, and the 31-year-old has now become the oldest player to score for Spain in the Euros.
The Chelsea skipper has indeed been a force for Spain since featuring against Slovakia, and his presence has helped reinvigorate Spain.
Speaking ahead of their crucial clash against Slovakia, Azpilicueta had urged his teammates to take a cue from Chelsea.
“We’re not in the situation we expected to be in, that’s a reality. But it’s in our hands, we depend on ourselves, and it’s like a knockout tie already: do or die,” the Chelsea captain said. “I experienced this last season. In January things weren’t good and no one expected anything from us; they thought we were dead. But it’s not how it starts, it’s how it ends.”
He added: “The lesson from Chelsea was never give up. No one thought we would do anything; we were dead, we wouldn’t get in the top four in the Premier League. You learn that you have to fight until the end.”