Spain beat France in thriller to set up Euro 2024 final against England or Netherlands | Football


Spain overcame France to set up a Euro 2024 final against either England or the Netherlands (Picture: Getty)

A Lamine Yamal-inspired Spain booked their place in the final of Euro 2024 after coming from behind to beat France 2-1 in a pulsating encounter at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

France got off to the perfect start as Randal Kolo Muani headed home a pinpoint Kylian Mbappe cross to open the scoring after only eight minutes in the heavyweight semi-final.

But Spain hit back and turned the game on its head with two goals in quick succession, with Lamine Yamal finding a historic equaliser before Dani Olmo put Luis de la Fuente’s side in front.

Kylian Mbappe and Theo Hernandez spurned huge opportunities to level the score in an absorbing second half but Spain held firm to secure their spot in Sunday’s showpiece.

They will face the winner of tomorrow evening’s semi-final between England and the Netherlands.

France opened the scoring through Kolo Muani in the eighth minute (Picture: Getty)

Lamine Yamal put the ball on a plate for Alvaro Morata as Spain created the first real opportunity of the game in the fifth minute but the unmarked Atletico Madrid striker ballooned his header over the crossbar from near point-blank range.

France looked to hit back immediately at the other end of the pitch before 38-year-old Jesus Navas – the oldest player to feature in a European Championship semi-final – got across superbly to shut out Kylian Mbappe.

The attack proved a stark warning for Spain, though, with Kolo Muani heading home an exquisite cross from Mbappe in the 21st minute to break the deadlock with what was France’s first goal from open play this summer.

An unmasked Mbappe, threatening to return to his frightening best, came close to doubling the French lead in the 19th minute but the forward’s strike was well blocked before it could reach Unai Simon in the Spain goal.

Yamal scored an astonishing first-half equaliser in Munich (Picture: Getty)

As France probed in search of a second, 16-year-old Yamal took centre-stage and proved why he is arguably Europe’s most exciting young talent with the goal of the tournament to level the score.

Latching onto William Saliba’s interception, the teenage Barcelona winger sent Adrien Rabiot both ways before unleashing a swerving 25-yard strike into the top corner.

The astonishing effort saw Yamal becoming the youngest ever scorer at either a Euros or a World Cup, eclipsing the previous record set by a 17-year-old Pele back in 1958.

With Les Blues seemingly shellshocked, a reinvigorated Spain took the lead and turned the game on its head in the space of just four minutes as Dani Olmi – starting in place of the injured Pedri – found the back of Mike Maignan’s net via a Jules Kounde deflection.

Olmo gave Spain the lead just four minutes after Yamal’s wondergoal (Picture: Getty)

Tchouameni had a glorious chance to equalise from a 53rd-minute corner but the midfielder’s tame header, France’s first serious opportunity of the second period, was easily dealt with by Simon.

The Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper was then called upon a two more times in quick succession, keeping out Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele as France applied pressure in a promising start after the break.

Deschamps rang the changes just past the hour-mark and the triple substitution appeared to inject new life into the French, with Bradley Barcola coming on and causing problems down the left flank.

A collective lapse in concentration from Spain’s defenders in the 76th minute saw the ball fall perfectly to Theo Hernandez, who found himself in acres of space on the edge of the box. But the AC Milan full-back snatched at his effort and blazed over from distance.

Just as France looked to be building in confidence and gaining the upper hand, Yamal provided another reminder of his audacious talent with a curled strike that whistled past Maignan’s upright.

With five minutes remaining, Mbappe made inroads into Spain’s penalty area but fired a wild shot well over the crossbar, much to the relief of a despairing Luis de la Fuente in the dugout.


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