Spain and Switzerland qualified for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament on Wednesday evening, but both needed extra time to do it in their respective semi-finals at the UEFA U-21 European Championships in Denmark.
The Spanish had Adrian Lopez to thank as they came from behind to defeat Belarus 3-1 in Viborg. Indeed La Rojita needed an 89th-minute equaliser from Adrian to avoid defeat, before the same player headed them in front and Jeffren Suarez clinched the win.
For the majority of the match, it looked as though the eastern Europeans were going to book a place at London 2012. Andrei Voronkov's overhead kick after 38 minutes, along with a remarkably disciplined team performance, was almost enough to defeat the side who were many people's tournament favourites.
Meanwhile, Admir Mehmedi fired Switzerland to the Olympic Games – and the final of the tournament - as his extra-time winner in Herning ended the stubborn resistance of the Czech Republic.
Mehmedi’s spectacular strike in the 114th minute set up a match with Spain on Saturday for the Swiss, who are yet to concede a goal in 390 minutes of football in Denmark. The forward’s shot from 25 yards bounced over the outstretched hand of Tomáš Vaclík and landed in the bottom corner.
Belarus and Czech Republic meet in Aalborg on Saturday to play-off for the competition’s bronze medal – and Europe’s last remaining place on offer at the Olympics.