EURO 2024: Spain Triumphs Over France (2-1) to Secure Spot in European Championship Final

By Score More

In the first semi-final of the European Championship, two teams eager for victory clashed on the field. Spain, showcasing the relentless drive that has made them the top team of the tournament so far, faced France, who, after a series of draws, narrow wins, and lackluster performances, rose to a level befitting a World Cup runner-up.

This showdown between two footballing powerhouses of the old continent brought not only the spectacle of an unmasked Kylian Mbappé but also two teams unburdened by caution and more focused on attacking than defending. This approach, particularly by Spain, was a refreshing change in the tournament.

Before Kolo Muani scored France’s first goal by a French player in this European Championship from open play (following two own goals and a penalty converted by Mbappé), Fabián Ruiz had already threatened for Spain. Despite taking the lead, France seemed strategically and emotionally superior, consistently targeting Spain’s weaker right side, where Jesús Navas and Nacho, substitutes for the suspended Carvajal and Le Normand, struggled.

Spain took time to recover from the blow, evident when Jesús Navas fouled Rabiot just as he was about to release Mbappé, and when the French star nearly doubled the lead before the 20-minute mark.

Then, a moment of magic transformed the game. Lamine Yamal, a 16-year-old prodigy, danced past Rabiot and unleashed a stunning strike from outside the box into Maignan’s top right corner, becoming the youngest-ever scorer in a European Championship. This spectacular goal pulled France back to reality and elevated Spain to the high standard they have set in this tournament, overcoming Croatia, Italy, Albania, Georgia, and Germany with varying degrees of brilliance but always with unquestionable competence.

Spain capitalized on their momentum. Just minutes after equalizing, Dani Olmo made it 2-1, scoring more goals in four minutes than France had conceded in their previous five matches combined. A prominent French newspaper had boldly declared “¡No pasarán!” on its front page that morning.

In the second half, Spain’s artists turned into laborers, fending off incursions from Dembélé on the right and Mbappé on the left. Substitutes Griezmann, Barcola, Camavinga, and Giroud entered the fray, intensifying France’s efforts. Upamecano threatened with a header, Theo Hernández and Mbappé with long-range shots, but La Roja’s defense held firm, proving their brilliance both with and without the ball.

With a perfect record, Spain became the first team to win six matches in a European Championship and secured their place in the final. They now await the winner of the England vs. Netherlands semi-final.

Player of the Match: Lamine Yamal

At just 16 years old, Yamal, who turns 17 on the eve of the European Championship final, demonstrated footballing wisdom beyond his years. His decisive goal, a stunning long-range strike, rescued Spain from a tough moment against France. The Barcelona prodigy shone throughout the match, narrowly missing an assist to Fabián Ruiz early on and contributing defensively. In the final minutes, he thwarted a potentially dangerous counter-attack, earning a yellow card for his efforts.

As Spain marches towards the final, Yamal’s performance will be remembered as a key factor in their success. Will England or the Netherlands be able to stop La Roja’s relentless pursuit of the title?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *