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Euro 2024: Spain beat France to reach final

July 9, 2024

Spain have reached the Euro 2024 final after Lamine Yamal became the youngest ever goal scorer in an international tournament.

Spain's Lamine Yamal celebrates after scoring their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Euro 2024, semi-final match at the Munich Football Arena, Germany
Lamine Yamal, at just 16 years of age, scored his first goal for Spain at an international tournamentImage: Bradley Collyer/empics/picture alliance

Spain beat France 2-1 to reach the final of Euro 2024 as 16-year-old Lamine Yamal struck a wonder goal to become the youngest ever to score in a UEFA Euro tournament.

Didier Deschamps' side took an early lead in Munich, picking up their first goal from open play, as captain Kylian Mbappe's cross was headed in by Randal Kolo Muani at the back post.

However, favorites Spain struck back with Yamal, who cut inside before curling a swerving shot into the net off the left post.

And, the comeback was complete four minutes later as Dani Olmo drove into the box before striking his third goal of the competition.

Spain will play the winners of Wednesday's second semifinal match between England and the Netherlands at the showpiece final on Sunday in Berlin.

Yamal steals the headlines

The teenager had already lit up the European Championships, picking up a record-breaking four assists across his first five matches. 

Any questions over whether Yamal could stand up in big moments were quickly silenced, as he created the first chance of the match just four minutes in, with his lifted cross met by an unmarked Fabian Ruiz, who headed over from point-blank range.

When Spain found themselves behind, the winger kicked his game up a notch, and despite being surrounded by four defenders, sent an excellent strike from 25-yards out into the net.

As the first player to score against France from open play throughout the tournament he provided the prefect catalyst for Spain to take control of the match.

"I'm very happy to have made it to the final," man-of-the-match Yamal said. "Now the most important thing is to win it. "We were in a difficult moment, you wouldn't expect a goal so soon. I wanted to put it in where the goal went in, and I'm very happy. I just want to win, win and win."

Olmo becoming unlikely hero of Spanish side

For a player who had started only one match during the Euros prior to the semifinal, Olmo is an unlikely leader for the Golden Boot race.

Yet, the RB Leipzig midfielder started against France in place of Pedri, who suffered a tournament-ending injury following a tackle by Germany's Toni Kroos. 

Dani Olmo (right) is hugged by Jesus Navas (left)
Dani Olmo has scored eight goals for Spain prior to Euro 2024Image: Sven Hoppe/dpa/picture alliance

And it was Olmo who turned the match on its head to give Spain a deserved lead, as he picked up the ball on the edge of the box, before knocking it past Aurelien Tchouameni and slotting into the bottom corner.

Though his strike took a touch off Jules Kounde's leg, it was ruled to be Olmo's third goal of the tournament to go alongside his two assists.

For Olmo, who has become the spearhead of a Spanish side moving away from their typical 'tiki-taka' style of play, his eyes remain firmly on the prize.

"We are very close, just one more step to go," Olmo said. "It is incredible what the team is doing and deserve to be in the final, one step from glory."

"Whether it is my goal, or Kounde's, it doesn't matter. A goal is a goal. The important thing is that we are in the final."

France play with more freedom but come up short 

Much of the discussion surrounding France throughout the Euros was focused on an unusual toothlessness in front of goal that has hindered the team. 

The team had failed to score a single goal from open play, mustering two own goals and a penalty, prior to game at the Munich Football Arena, leaving Mbappe to discard the mask he had been wearing after breaking his nose in the opening match Austria in hopes of improving his output.

Without the extra protection on his face, the 25-year-old seemingly played with more freedom, and set up the game's opener with a brilliantly floated cross.

But, it proved to be the only moment of real attacking threat from a French side that looked far from their best throughout the competition.

And, after the match, trainer Deschamps admitted the better side had come out on top.

 "Even though we were fortunate to open the scoring, Spain made things difficult for us," he said. 

"They were superior in terms of control and technique. The team that gave the best impression was Spain. So, they deserve to win tonight."

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Edited by: Wesley Rahn