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Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

Spain senior men’s national team scored two goals in two first half minutes to secure a 2-1 win over France in the semi-final of the UEFA Euro 2024 at the FuBall Arena, Munchen on Tuesday.

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Coach, De la Fuente made three changes from Spain’s previous fixture against Germany, with all of their alterations enforced. In defence, Robin Le Normand and Dani Carvajal are both suspended, so they miss out. Nacho and Navas come into the starting line-up. Pedri has picked up an injury and failed to make the squad, with Olmo coming in to replace him.

Unai Simon; Marc Cucurella, Aymeric Laporte, Nacho, Jesus Navas; Fabian Ruiz, Rodri, Dani Olmo; Nico Williams, Alvaro Morata, and Lamine Yamal started La Furia Roja while David Raya, Dani Vivian, Mikel Merino, Joselu, Ferran Torres, Alex Grimaldo, Alex Remiro, Alex Baena, Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Oyarzabal, Fermin Lopez, and Ayoze Perez were on the bench.

Didier Deschamps on the other hand made two alterations from France’s victory on penalties against Portugal in the quarter-final. Griezmann dropped to the bench, and he was replaced by Dembele in attack. Rabiot also comes into the side, with Camavinga taking his place among the substitutes.

Mike Maignan; Theo Hernandez, William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano, Jules Kounde; Adrien Rabiot, Aurelien Tchouameni, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani, and Ousmane Dembele started for Les Bleus. French substitutes include Brice Samba, Benjamin Pavard, Ferland Mendy, Eduardo Camavinga, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Marcus Thuram, Warren Zaire-Emery, Youssouf Fofana, Kingsley Coman, Jonathan CLauss, Alphonse Areola, Ibrahima Konate, and Bradley Barcola.

Williams’ cross arrived at the back post for Lamal to get on the end of. He cuts back onto his left foot and delivered towards Ruiz in the middle. He rises highest unmarked inside the six-yard box, but he somehow puts it over the bar in the fifth minute.

Three minutes later, Mbappe was found on the left-hand side of the penalty area, and he stook up his marker before floating a cross to the back post. Kolo Muani rose highest inside the penalty area, and he powered a header into the top corner for France’s first goal scored by one of their own players from open play at Euro 2024.

Spain leveled the scoreline in the 21st minute with a stunner. Yamal worked his magic outside of the penalty area, shifting it onto his left foot, darting past Rabiot. The 16-year-old sent a curling strike towards the top corner, hitting the post before it flew into the back of the net.

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At 16 years and 362 days, Yamal became the youngest-ever goalscorer at a major international tournament (Euros/World Cup), a record previously held by Brazil's Pele (17 years 239 days vs Wales at the 1958 World Cup). That was his first strike of the tournament, but the Spanish star has also contributed with three assists.

Two minutes after the equaliser, Spain went ahead for the first time in the match. Navas crossed into the penalty area from the right-hand side and it was headed away, but only as far as Olmo. He took a superb touch before working it onto his right and striking towards the bottom corner. Kounde sticks a leg out, but it cannoned off him and went into the back of the net.

Olmo with the goal became the first Spanish player to be involved in five or more goals at a single major tournament (Euros or World Cup) since David Silva at Euro 2012.

On the hour mark, France look to counter-attack and it was Kante who drives through the middle of the pitch with the ball. He feeds Dembele down the right and the PSG winger quickly fired a cross into the box. Mbappe was hoping to get there, but Simon palmed it away.

France shown more of an attacking threat in the second half after going into the break 2-1 down. Deschamps' side produced three shots with two of those being on target since half-time. In the 76th minute, Griezmann delivered to the back post for Dembele, who quickly fired back across the box. Spain failed to clear and it fell into the path of Camavinga. He laid the ball off to Hernandez on the edge, but his right-footed effort flew into the stands.

With five minutes remaining on the clock, Barcola bursted past his marker, driving through the middle of the pitch. He finds Mbappe who cuts inside onto his right foot and he has a clear shot on goal, but he fired it over the bar and behind for a goal-kick.

Spain kept their slim goal margin till the end of the encounter and will face either the Netherlands or England in Sunday's final match.

Meanwhile...

Spain are the only team who have won all five matches at Euro 2024 before the semi-final. No team in European Championship history has won six matches in a single tournament and no team has ever won six Euro games in a row ahead of this match.

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Luis de la Fuente's side have the best win percentage of any European nation since the start of 2023, winning 15 of their 19 matches under their manager. Spain have undoubtedly been one of the most impressive sides at the tournament, with Lamine Yamal a standout. The 16-year-old has created 14 chances for his team-mates at EURO 2024, the most by a Spaniard at a major tournament since Xavi at Euro 2012 (25).

Comaparatively, France have shown plenty of defensive solidity at Euro 2024, keeping four clean sheets, with only two teams ever keeping more at a single edition. Didier Deschamps' side are looking to reach their fourth Euro final (1984, 2000 and 2016) but only the second not played on French soil (Euro 2000 in the Netherlands).

There have only been four goals scored in France’s five Euro 2024 matches (three for, one against), with those either penalties (2) or own goals (2) heading into this game. It was a chance for the French to reach the final of a major tournament once again after falling at the last hurdle at the previous World Cup against Argentina.

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