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Euro 2024: Viva Espana! France Are Out!

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Spain 2-1 France

Spain took their place in the Euro 2024 final thanks to a thrilling victory over France at the game of the tournament so far.   

Randal Kolo Muani put Les Bleus in front on eight minutes converting a brilliant cross from Kylian Mbappe, but two goals in four minutes, a wonder strike from Lamine Yamal and then a strike from Dani Olmo turned the game on its head.    

France last won the Euros in 2000 and their Euro 2024 results have been rather underwhelming, but they put up their best show of the competition for this mega clash; but it wasn’t quite good enough to beat Super Spain who now have a chance to win their first Euros since 2012.     


Highlights of the game

In my SBOTOP preview of this game I asked whether La Roja were ready to topple Les Bleus as bosses in the European game and boy did they start with that intention. With just five minutes on the clock Lamine Yamal got to the bi-line and stood up a perfect cross which Fabian Ruiz simply had to convert, but he got under his header and it flew harmlessly over.

It was a bad miss and it was made to look even worse three minutes later when Kolo Muani, in for the benched Antoine Griezmann, rose to head in an inch perfect cross from Mbappe. That was some goal but the Spain equaliser was something else.

There are only so many superlatives you can heap on Barcelona’s 16 year old wonderkid Yamal and his strike was simply sensational. He shifted the ball onto his left foot and, from all of 25 yards he curled a beauty into the top left corner. And while Les Bleus were still reeling Olmo made it 2-1, turning Aurelien Tchouameni and powering a superb cross shot into the net.    

France started the second half brightly and Tchouameni had a good chance but his header was weak, and then Mbappe fired straight at Unai Simon from a tight angle. On the hour Didier Deschamps called for re-enforcements, bringing on Bradley Barcola and Antoine Griezmann. And a great run from Barcola, with an electrifying change of pace got the France fans on their feet, but his cross was cleared by Spain. And then Griezmann worked an opening for Theo Hernandez but his shot flew well over.

Lamine Yamal made headlines during the Euro 2024 semi-final against France
Having scored against France, Lamine Yamal is now the youngest goalscorer in UEFA Euro history

La Roja began to sit deep which must have concerned Luis De La Fuente, but they still had an outlet in Yamal who had a pot shot on 81 minutes. And then, with five minutes remaining Mbappe had a golden chance when he turned onto his right foot but amazingly he fired well over with the goal at his mercy.

Five minutes of injury time wasn’t enough for France and when Griezmann’s header ballooned over the bar the game was up.     


Key statistics

Spain and France players had been notably absent in the race for the Golden Boot, with only Spain’s Dano Olmo and Fabian Ruiz on two goals at the start of this game, but it was Kolo Muani who became France’s first goal-scorer in open play of the tournament; and the floodgates opened in a truly brilliant first half.  

16 year old Lamal is the youngest player ever to score at a European Championships and Olmo’s goal put him in front for the Golden Boot, courtesy of his three goals and two assists. 

La Roja are the first nations to win six consecutive games at a European Championship without the need for penalties.

But it was a sad night for France, who lost a European Championship game after taking a lead for the first time since 2000, a defeat to the Netherlands. They gave it a real go, winning the shot counts by nine to six and three to two on target, but Les Bleus lost to two moments of Spanish magic.   


What’s next?

At the start of this game the Euro 2024 betting odds had installed Spain as clear favourites to win the tournament. And, after beating the 2022 World Cup finalists La Roja fully justified that status.  

England meet the Netherlands on Wednesday night at the Signal Iduna Park where the Yellow Wall will turn Orange for a couple of hours. Three Lions fans too will be in great numbers and hugely vocal and the atmosphere will be electric.

And then we’re onto the final at the Olympiastadion on Sunday 14th July when one of the three remaining nations will be crowned Kings of Europe and Spain are still the team to beat.




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