02.07.2021 22:10 h

Petkovic proud of Swiss 'heroes' despite loss on penalties

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic hailed his players as "heroes" on Friday after they fell just short of reaching a first major tournament semi-final with defeat by Spain on penalties at Euro 2020.

The Swiss, playing in their first major quarter-final since 1954, saw Remo Freuler sent off in the 77th minute but hung on to force spot-kicks after a 1-1 draw in Saint Petersburg, only to lose 3-1.

"My players are the heroes of the night," said Petkovic, whose side had beaten world champions France on penalties in a thrilling last-16 tie.

"We would have deserved to go through.

"I have mixed feelings. A lot of pride, because we gave everything and we leave here with our heads held high.

"On the other hand, we were so close to the semi-final, and that doesn't happen every year."

Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer was unfortunate to be on the losing side after making eight saves in extra time and keeping out a penalty in the shoot-out.

But his opposite number Unai Simon saved twice, with both teams also missing the target once.

"Yann (Sommer) -- he's a hero," added Petkovic. "He didn't have that bit of luck in the penalty shoot-out."