HEADLINE | Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Spain into Euro 2024 final after 2-1 win over France


Spainís players celebrate at the end of the UEFA Euro 2024 semi-final football match between Spain and France at the Munich Football Arena in Munich on July 9, 2024. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

Lamine Yamal, 16, became the tournamentís youngest ever goalscorer as Spain came back to beat France 2-1 in Munich on Tuesday and reach the Euro 2024 final.

Trailing after Randal Kolo Muani headed in a Kylian Mbappe cross in the ninth minute, Spain turned the match around in a four-minute period, scoring twice against a side who had only conceded once in five previous games in this tournament.

Yamal, who turns 17 a day before Sundayís final against either the Netherlands or England in Berlin, equalised with a superb strike from outside the box, curling a long-range effort into the top corner and past the fingertips of an airborne Mike Maignan.

Spain took the lead on 25 minutes, Dani Olmo expertly gathering a loose ball and firing a low shot into the net with the aid of a deflection off Jules Kounde.

Masters of midfield game management, Spain shut up shop after taking the lead, frequently holding possession rather than attack on the counter, controlling the match and claiming the win.

Three-time champions Spain became the first team to win six games at a Euros and are one game away from a record-breaking fourth crown.

Finalists in three of the past four major tournaments, questions will be asked of how France failed to click up front despite boasting enviable attacking riches.

France had only scored three goals heading into the match, none of which were scored by a French player from open play and coach Didier Deschamps reacted, benching forward Antoine Griezmann for Ousmane Dembele.

Yamal created the first chance of the match four minutes in, lofting a curling cross to an unmarked Fabian Ruiz, who headed over from point-blank range.

Four minutes later, Mbappe skated down the left flank and sent in a carbon copy of Yamalís cross, but Kolo Muaniís header was on target to give France the lead.

While the pre-match doubts focused on Spain veterans Jesus Navas, 38, and Nacho, 34, who replaced suspended duo Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand, the younger Aymeric Laporte and Marc Cucurella were at fault for Kolo Muaniís opener.

Franceís strike seemed to take the wind out of Spainís sails but it was the youngest player on the pitch who produce a piece of sublime brilliance to level the scores.

Collecting the ball well outside the box, Yamal cut inside, took one look at the goal and unleashed a perfect curling strike into the top left corner.

The goal made Yamal, who already has three assists at Euro 2024, the youngest scorer in the competitionís history, beating the previous record by a year and a half.

Lamalís goal, 13 minutes after Franceís opener, ignited Spainís attack and La Roja took the lead four minutes later through Olmo.

Olmo leapt acrobatically to collect a cleared cross, shed a defender and smashed goalwards, his shot taking a deflection off Kounde before bouncing in.

Franceís best chance to force extra time fell to their captain with five minutes remaining, but Mbappe blasted well over with only goalkeeper Unai Simon to beat.

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