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Spain Defeats France 2-1 to Reach UEFA Euro 2024 Final

Les Bleus hadn’t scored a single goal from open play in 480 minutes at this Euros but took just nine to do so this time around. After Fabián Ruiz had wastefully headed over, his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Randal Kolo Muani was far more clinical as he converted from Kylian Mbappé’s cross. Freed of his mask and against Jesús Navas – the oldest player to feature in a Euros or World Cup semi-final who was also booked 14 minutes in – Mbappé looked eager to impose himself and saw a shot blocked by Nacho Fernández.

It was the youngest player to feature at this stage of those major tournaments that struck the next blow, though, as Lamine Yamal jinked his way away from Adrien Rabiot and sent an audacious strike curling in off the far post. Dani Olmo conjured magical touches of his own a mere four minutes later to find space in the box and drive a shot that went in off Jules Koundé. While France had moments of promise, Spain continued to threaten the most before the break with Ruiz and Yamal both having shots deflected behind.

France were immediately stretched after the restart with Mike Maignan forced to fly out of his box to halt Nico Williams. They also made forays forward of their own and Mbappé saw a shot from a tight angle saved before Navas was forced off injured, while Didier Deschamps made his move with an attacking triple-change shortly after the hour mark. Even so, frustrations continued as Théo Hernández and Ousmane Dembélé were both unable to capitalise on Spanish slip-ups in their own box.

Yamal came agonisingly close to adding a buffer for his side, but Mbappé uncharacteristically smashed his late effort over, while Antoine Griezmann headed over at the very end as Spain comfortably saw out the victory to book their place in Berlin. They do so full of confidence thanks to their recent and historical records, having won their last eight matches and three of the four Euros finals they have competed in. They also inflicted the first defeat from France’s 13 competitive matches since the World Cup final.

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Written by Charles Daisi

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