Spain, France to pull no punches with Euro 2024 semis spot at stake

Sports
Tue, 9 Jul 2024 8:03 GMT
t all goes to the wire as two European football giants Spain and France lock horns on Tuesday at Munich's Football Arena with both teams eyeing a spot in the Euro 2024 final.
Spain, France to pull no punches with Euro 2024 semis spot at stake

Ιt all goes to the wire as two European football giants Spain and France lock horns on Tuesday at Munich's Football Arena with both teams eyeing a spot in the Euro 2024 final.

This thriller's winner will face the Holland-England semifinal winner in the championship match.

La Roja have been unstoppable, storming into the semifinals with a perfect record.

Emerging as leaders from Group B, where they faced Italy, Croatia and Albania, Spain didn't concede a single goal.

They then dispatched Georgia in the round of 16 and edged past hosts Germany in a thrilling quarterfinal after extra time.

As for Les Bleus, their journey began in Group D with Austria, Netherlands and Poland.

They secured their spot in the knockout stages with one win and two draws, finishing second behind Austria.

The French team overcame Belgium in the round of 16 and narrowly beat Portugal in a penalty shootout in the quarterfinals.

With a high-charged youthful offense, comprising of Athletic Bilbao's Nico Williams, Barcelona's Lamine Yamal and Ferran Torres and stalwart Alvaro Morata, Spain have been relentless, leading the tournament with 102 shots, converting 11 into goals, tying with Germany as the top-scoring team.

In contrast, France's defense powered by Barcelona's Jules Kounde, Bayern Munich's Dayot Upamecano, Arsenal's William Saliba and AC Milan's Theo Hernandez, has been nearly impenetrable, conceding only one goal – a penalty against Poland – and keeping clean sheets in four of their five matches.

This semifinal marks the 37th meeting between Spain and France at the senior level.

La Roja hold the upper hand with 16 wins to France's 13, and seven matches ending in draws.

Spain have scored 64 goals to France's 39.

Recent history also favors Spain, with five wins in their last eight encounters since 2008.

Their last significant clash was the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League final, where France triumphed 2-1 in Milan despite Spain taking an early lead.

Spain aim to avenge that loss and move one step closer to their fourth European title.

Luis de la Fuente's men's semifinal appearance in Euro 2024 marks their sixth, having previously reached this stage in 1964, 1984, 2008, 2012, and 2020.

They have won the championship three times and finished as runners-up once.

France, under Didier Deschamps, also mark their sixth semifinal appearance.

They have won the tournament twice (1984 and 2000) and reached the final in 2016.

They fell short in the semifinals in 1960 and 1996.

France have yet to score from open play in this tournament.

Their goals have come from set pieces and penalties, including an own goal by Austria's Maximilian Wober, a penalty by Mbappe against Poland, another own goal by Belgium's Jan Vertonghen, and a penalty shootout victory over Portugal.

Spain will miss defenders Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand due to suspensions from their quarterfinal clash with Germany.

Midfield maestro Pedri, along with Nacho and Ayoze Perez, face late fitness tests.

France, on the other hand, enter the semifinal without any significant injuries or suspensions.

Expected lineups

Spain: Unai Simon; Navas, Nacho, Laporte, Cucurella; Olmo, Rodri, Fabian Ruiz; Lamine Yamal, Morata, Williams.

France: Maignan; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kante, Tchouameni, Camavinga; Griezmann, Kolo Muani, Mbappe.

DailySabah

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