A.When it was done, some of his teammates sank to the floor, exhausted. The defensive battle, which they had delivered over two halves in midsummer temperatures, ran out of energy for all of them.
Robin Olsen, to whom his Swedish colleagues were particularly indebted for numerous parades, still had enough strength to tear his arms in the air with the gloves with which he had repeatedly held the playground equipment – and away from the few fans to celebrate in the arena of Seville, which was mostly attached to the Spanish home team.
Without Olsen, the three-crown team would have been lost on Monday. The optical dominance of the Furia Roja looked impressive. Overall, as the statistics reports later showed, the men around captain Jordi Alba brought 917 passes to their teammates as planned – and thus more than ten times as many as Olsen’s front men, who had 89 properly finished games.
Most of the ball contacts of the Swedes
The Spaniards fired 17 shots on goal, the Swedes only four. The fact that in the end the first 0-0 of this European Championship tournament was recorded was mainly due to Olsen, who with 39 had the most ball contacts of the Swedes.
Whenever the Spaniards succeeded in combining the two tightly interwoven chains of four from midfield and defense and penetrating the Swedish penalty area with good prospects, the 31-year-old stepped into action with hand and foot. As a rescuer in need, he parried several great chances of the EM co-favorite, for example a header from Dani Olmo, who played for Leipzig in the Bundesliga (16th minute).
The defensive actions were no less worth seeing, when Olsen intervened with a long-range shot from Olmos before the break, and in the final phase when the Spaniards ordered all protagonists up to goalkeeper Unai Simón; but Gerard Moreno had to acknowledge on his final attempt from five meters that the Swedish policeman between the posts had both foreseen the direction and also energetically grabbed at the right moment.
“Sure, I’m satisfied,” said Olsen as the hour advanced in the Estadio Olímpico de La Cartuja. “But there were more than me,” he added, who were responsible for ensuring that “we can take this point with us”. Olsen spoke of an “unbelievable team effort”, which compensated for the fact that there were hardly any glamorous moments in terms of play. “I’m incredibly proud to see the guys run like this,” said Olsen.
And then he could not have suspected that the commitment of his colleagues would go even further. Because they knew only too well who to thank for this respectable success. “He was fantastic,” said defender Victor Lindelöf – referring to the goalkeeper who was overshadowed by England number one Jordan Pickford during the season at Everton. “I have to give him a huge hug afterwards – and maybe bring some coffee and food, too,” joked Lindelöf. “We are very relieved that we had Robin today.”