Friday, July 19, 2024

Spain v France LIVE: Latest team news and build-up ahead of Euro 2024 semi-final

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French Fans React To Euro Penalty Shootout Win Paving Way To Semi-final

Spain take on France in a heavyweight battle in the first semi-final at Euro 2024, with the winner taking a place in the final in Berlin on Sunday 14 July.

La Roja battled past hosts Germany in an entertaining quarter-final in Stuttgart, with a 119th-minute Mikel Merino header giving them their place in the last four after an enthralling game.

Les Bleus fared a little worse in their quarter-final, squeezing past Portugal on penalties after a 120-minute display that was often tepid, pedestrian and lacking in attacking threat.

Questions remain over whether Didier Deschamps can take this side – who have not scored an open-play goal of their own all tournament – into a fourth final of his tenure. Luis de la Fuente’s impressive Spain side – who remain favourites to win the competition – lie in wait.

Follow all the latest updates from Spain v France below:

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Rabiot backing Griezmann to perform

Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann is another French forward yet to find their shooting boots but teammate Adrien Rabiot says the players are all behind the struggling attackers.

“I think everyone is surprised because we know what Antoine is capable of,” Rabiot said, “We saw what he pulled out of the bag at the World Cup, where he was at the peak of his powers as a player.

“I don’t know the reason. We have high expectations when it comes to Antoine and we expect a lot because he’s capable.

“If someone’s having a rough patch then we’re here to support them, but obviously it’d be better if we had the Kylian and the Antoine [we know] playing here at the Euros.”

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:52

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Dani Olmo is Spain’s antidote to France’s anti-football at Euro 2024

It’s perhaps a triumph of tactics, or simply a triumph of circumstance: France have got to the semi-finals of Euro 2024 without scoring a goal in open play through any of their own 26 members of the squad.

Didier Deschamps’ side have been totally unconcerned by having possession for large stretches of matches. They haven’t really created too many chances either – certainly not in the way that the calibre of players at their disposal would suggest that they might do.

They rank 11th in the tournament for average possession per game. They’ve created the same number of big chances at the Euros as Austria or Turkey. They’ve only scored three in total across five matches and two of them were own goals.

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:45

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Mbappe in right ‘headspace’ despite poor form

France’s lack of goals have been in part due to the disappointing form of forwards Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele.

Mbappe, in particular, has struggled since being forced to wear a mask after breaking his nose during France’s opening 1-0 win against Austria.

The striker scored eight of France’s 16 goals at the World Cup in Qatar two years ago but has only netted once so far in Germany and that was from the penalty spot.

“We are convinced Kylian is in the right headspace, as are all of our players,” France boss Didier Deschamps said, “He had an issue with his back, took a blow to the nose – it could have been the end of the road for him but he’s still here.

“His field of vision is changed and it was a huge shock to him but I’m convinced he will do everything he can [against Spain].”

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:37

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Spain v France

Meeting in the Euro 2024 semi-final, and having already met in the group stage (1996), last 16 (2006), quarter-finals (2000 and 2012) and final (1984) of major tournaments, Spain v France will be just the third fixture to be played at each stage of World Cup and Euros, along with Italy v Spain and England v Germany.

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:30

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Deschamps says people ‘can watch something else’ if they are bored with France

Didier Deschamps says people who are bored with his France team’s style of play can watch something else instead of Tuesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final with Spain.

Les Bleus have been criticised for the lack of entertainment in their performances matches despite having reached the last four of the tournament in Germany.

However, none of their players have scored a goal from open play with their three goals so far being two own goals and a penalty scored by Kylian Mbappe.

In Monday’s pre-match press conference Deschamps was asked about playing “boring football” to which he responded: “If you are bored, watch another game – you don’t have to watch us, it’s fine.

“Maybe it’s not the same as it was in the past, but we do have the capability to spark emotions and make lots of French men and women happy with our results, especially after a difficult period in our country.”

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:22

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Meet Lamine Yamal, the 16-year-old Spain wonderkid lighting up Euro 2024

Exactly one year ago Lamine Yamal was playing in the quarter-finals of the U17 European Championships in front of only a few hundred supporters. Skipping past defenders for fun, he registered an assist and scored once in Spain’s 3-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.

At just 15 years old, he was one of the youngest players competing in the U17 competition at the time. Yet he already stood out among his peers, finishing as the joint top-scorer of the tournament – despite Spain crashing out to France in the semi-final.

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:15

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Pre-match thoughts of Luis de la Fuente:

“We’re facing a football superpower, a great opponent. They are not just powerful as a team, physically very strong, very quick; they also have brilliant individual players.

“Undoubtedly, they have some of the best in the world. We’re going to demonstrate all of our potential. I think we’re on the same level as them, both collectively and individually – it’ll be a brilliant spectacle.”

(REUTERS)

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:08

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Spain’s route to the final

Spain were placed in Group B alongside tricky opponents Croatia, the reigning European champions Italy and the resolute Albania. La Rojas went on to win all three games:

Spain 3-0 Croatia – Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal all scored.

Spain 1-0 Italy – A Riccardo Calafiori ow goal settled the tie.

Spain 1-0 Albania – Ferran Torres’ 13th minute strike ensured Spain kept their 100% win rate in tact.

Spain 4-1 Georgia – Despite a Robin Le Normand own goal sending Spain behind they equalised through Rodri before goals from Ruiz, Nico Williams and Dani Olmo helped them to a comfortable win.

Spain 2-1 Germany – Substitute Olmo opened the scoring in the 51st minute before a very late equaliser from Florian Wirtz. Fellow Spanish sub Mikel Merino then decided the match late in extra-time.

Mike Jones9 July 2024 15:00

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Spain are Euro 2024’s high-flyers

Spain have been the team to light up the tournament so far and are the only side left in the competition to win all five of their games.

They are the joint-top in number of goals (11) and top on total attempts (102) and balls recovered (230), demonstrating how impressive they have been both going forward.

“My players are insatiable,” said Luis de la Fuente after the quarter-final versus Germany, “There’s always room for improvement, of course, but we can’t question their pride, quality and commitment.”

Mike Jones9 July 2024 14:52

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Spain break Germany hearts but dramatic Euro 2024 win may come at great cost

There’s no second summer fairytale for Germany, as it’s instead Spain who have the happy ending. For now. Mikel Merino ensured they rose above it all, with a brilliant header in the 119th minute. The big question as to whether they go and actually win Euro 2024 is what the cost of this 2-1 victory over the hosts will be. Toni Kroos didn’t get his grand farewell, either, as he instead contributed to a match that often turned ugly.

That meant that it didn’t quite become the game of the tournament in the manner anticipated but it was thoroughly absorbing, right until the death. And that was very, very late. It is easy to see why games like this can prevent teams from becoming champions, because of the gruelling physical and psychological cost. Spain now have Alvaro Morata and the red-carded Dani Carvajal suspended for the semi-final, with Pedri looking like he might be out injured – maybe for the summer. He was the victim of an abrasive challenge from Kroos in the opening minute that very much set a tone.

Mike Jones9 July 2024 14:45

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