Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved a penalty kick from Kylian Mbappé to give his team a 5-4 penalty shootout victory Monday over the World Cup champions and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals for the first time.
Sommer, who left in the middle of the Euro 2020 group stage to be with his wife for the birth of their second daughter, dived to his right to save the final penalty by Mbappé, the young France forward who became a superstar at the last World Cup by scoring in the final.
The victory after the 3-3 draw put the Swiss in the quarterfinals of a major soccer tournament for the first time in 67 years.
Sommer, who flew back to Germany after the team’s 3-0 loss to Italy to be home when his daughter was born on June 16, made the decisive save on the 10th penalty after the previous nine had all been successful.
The Swiss haven’t reached the quarterfinals at a major tournament since they hosted the World Cup in 1954. This team also ended a run of three consecutive exits in the round of 16. They were knocked out by Poland after losing a penalty shootout 5-4 at Euro 2016.
The Swiss will next play Spain in the quarterfinals on Friday in St. Petersburg.
Haris Seferovic put Switzerland in the lead with a header in the 15th minute as France struggled to work itself into the game. But that all changed early in the second half when the Swiss were awarded a penalty.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the team’s captain, saved Ricardo Rodríguez’s spot kick in the 55th minute and seemed to wake up his teammates. Karim Benzema scored moments later in the 57th, and then again in the 59th to give France the quick-turnaround lead.
Paul Pogba made it 3-1 in the 75th with a right-foot shot from 20 meters and it appeared like the game was out of reach. But just as quickly as France had taken over the match, they let it go again.
Seferovic scored another header in the 81st and substitute Mario Gavranović made it 3-3 with only seconds remaining.
France had been trying to win back-to-back major titles for the second time. The French won the World Cup in 1998 and followed that up with the title at Euro 2000. Five years ago, France lost in the Euro 2016 final, but then won the 2018 World Cup.