Spain defeat France to reach Euro 2024 final

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epa11469022 Lamine Yamal (C) of Spain in action during the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals soccer match between Spain and France in Munich, Germany, 09 July 2024. EPA/FILIP SINGER
  • Post published:July 9, 2024

Spain booked their place in the Euro 2024 final after claiming a 2-1 victory over France in the semi-final played at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Randal Kolo Muani nodded in a cross from Kylian Mbappe in the ninth minute, Spain scored twice in the next four minutes to turn the game around against a team that had only given up once in their previous five tournament games.

Yamal, who turns 17 the day before Sunday’s final in Berlin against either the Netherlands or England, equalised with an incredible long-range shot that curled past Mike Maignan’s flying hands and into the top corner.

After a deflection off Jules Kounde, Dani Olmo skillfully collected a loose ball and fired a low effort into the net to give Spain the lead on the 25th minute mark.

Once they took the lead, Spain, who are experts at managing midfield games, shut down. They usually held possession instead of attacking on the counter, which allowed them to control the game and win.

Three-time winners Reaching just one match short of a record-breaking fourth title, Spain made history by being the first team to win six games at a Euros.

France, finalists in three of the last four international competitions, will be questioned about why, despite having an abundance of attacking talent, they were unable to generate any early pressure.

Before the game, France had only scored three goals, none of which had been scored by a French player through open play. In response, head coach Didier Deschamps benched striker Antoine Griezmann in favour of Ousmane Dembele.

Four minutes in, Yamal provided the opening opportunity of the game by lofting a curling cross to an unmarked Fabian Ruiz, who headed over from close range.

After Mbappe glided down the left wing and attempted an exact replica of Yamal’s cross four minutes later, Kolo Muani’s header gave France the lead.

Kolo Muani’s opening goal was the result of a mistake by youngster Aymeric Laporte and Marc Cucurella, but the pre-match suspicions were directed against Spain’s veterans Jesus Navas, 38, and Nacho, 34, who took the place of Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand, who were suspended.

Spain appeared to be losing the match after France’s goal, but the game’s youngest player pulled off a brilliant move to tie the scores.

Yamal, who had collected the ball well outside the area, cut inside, glanced at the goal, and then unleashed a perfect curling strike that went into the upper left corner.

With the goal, Yamal—who has already recorded three assists at Euro 2024—broke the record for the youngest goal scorer in the history of the competition by one and a half years.

Thirteen minutes after France’s first goal, Lamal’s goal sparked Spain’s offensive, and Olmo gave La Roja the lead four minutes later.

After a clearing cross was collected, Olmo leaped acrobatically, ducked under a defender, and blasted goalwards; his strike deflected off Kounde and bounced in.

With five minutes remaining, France’s captain had the finest opportunity to send the game into overtime, but Mbappe blasted wide of the mark with only goalkeeper Unai Simon to beat.