Spain celebrate winning the UEFA Nations League after beating Croatia in a penalty shoot-out ©Getty Images

Spain won the UEFA Nations League title for the third time after edging past Croatia on penalties in the final in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Unai Simón was Spain’s hero making two saves in the shoot-out following a match that finished goalless after extra-time.

In regulation time at the Stadion Feijenoord De Kuip in Rotterdam chances were at a premium between two evenly-matched sides.

Spain started the match the strongest and had a good early chance when an effort from Fabián Ruiz hit the post after Croatia’s keeper Dominik Livaković mishandled.

Croatia responded in the second part of the first half and just after the half-hour Simón tipped away a header from Ivan Perišić.

With extra-time looming, Spain came close with six minutes remaining when a shot from substitute Ansu Fati was cleared off the line by the impressive Perišić.

After 120 minutes neither side was able to make the breakthrough, sending the match to penalties.

The first six spot-kicks were all converted, before Spain grabbed the advantage when Simón dived to his left and denied a penalty from Lovro Majer with his foot.

Aymeric Laporte had a chance to win the shoot-out for Spain however his powerful penalty down the centre rebounded off the crossbar.

The very next penalty saw Simón come to the fore again as he made a low save to deny Bruno Petković.

Unai Simón saved two penalties for Spain as they edged past Croatia to win the third edition of the UEFA Nations League ©Getty Images
Unai Simón saved two penalties for Spain as they edged past Croatia to win the third edition of the UEFA Nations League ©Getty Images

Dani Carvajal then scored the decisive penalty, with a calm finish securing Spain’s first international trophy since the 2012 European Championship.

Victory means La Roja become the second team, after France, who beat them in the Nations League final last year, to win the European Championship, World Cup and Nations League trophies.

Earlier in the day Italy beat Netherlands in an entertaining third-place match 3-2.

Italy took an early lead in the sixth minute through a well-struck shot from Federico Dimarco, before Davide Frattesi made it 2-0 on 20 minutes when he finished a shot which had deflected in to his path.

Netherlands cut the deficit midway through the second half after Steven Bergwijn fired home a shot to make it 2-1.

Four minutes later Federico Chiesa sealed the win as his cool finish following a counter-attacking move made it 3-1.

Georginio Wijnaldum fired into the roof of the net in the 89th minute to make it 3-2, with Italy holding on during nine minutes of added time to seal third place.

The next edition of the UEFA Nations League is due to begin in September 2024, with the finals scheduled for June 2025.

This edition is set to be expanded to include an additional knockout round, featuring quarter-finals and promotion/relegation playoffs.