fbpx

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

In a game between two teams of different fortunes at the UEFA Euro 2024, Spain and France will trade tackles in the last four for a place in the final. While France has not won any of their matches so far with goals from open play, Spain has been impressive after seeing off hosts Germany in the quarter-final thanks to a last-gasp goal from Mikel Merino.

Preview

While Luis de la Fuente’s side have been free-flowing in front of goal during that streak, their resolute defensive displays should attract the bulk of praise. La Roja have conceded just once to an opposition player at these finals, while they have not conceded more than once in any of those seven aforementioned wins.

Spain can therefore head into this blockbuster semi-final meeting with France fully confident, especially as they have restricted Les Bleus to a goal or less in seven of their last eight Head-to-Hea clashes. 

That confidence may well grow given France’s unremarkable form in front of goal so far at the tournament. They edged past Portugal in a cagey, goalless affair where Theo Hernández ultimately struck the winning penalty in the shootout after Portugal’s João Félix had missed. Remarkably, France has now reached the competition’s last four despite none of their players scoring a single goal from open play.

Manager Didier Deschamps admitted his side needed to improve in front of goal after the win, yet even so, his reputation as a serial winner continues to grow. He was appointed in 2012 and could reach a fourth major final out of a possible six should his side win again here, keeping alive his own target of becoming only the second person after Germany’s Berti Vogts to win a European Championship as both a player and a manager.

Spain

One of the eight teams to have won the FIFA World Cup, Spain is getting close to their fourth European title after success in 1964, 2008, and 2012. After their victory in the 2023 UEFA Nations League, they became the second national team besides their semi-final opponent, France, to win three major titles (World Cup, European Championship, and Nations League).

Success at men’s national team level resonates with the women as the La Rojas alongside Germany are the two nations to have won both women’s and men’s World Cups. Their dominance from 2008 to 2012 is one of the best in world football after winning three consecutive tournaments; 2008 Euros, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and Euro 2012.

By winning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Spain became the only European country to win the competition while being hosted outside their continent. The team achieved 35 consecutive undefeated matches, a feat that they shared with Brazil, and a sports record at the time.

Juventus Leave Chiesa Behind For Their Preseason Tour Amidst Reports Linking Him With A Move To Inter

UEFA Reveals Playoffs Fixtures For 2025 Women’s Euros Qualifiers

Cesc Fabregas Officially Announced As The Coach Of Serie A Newcomers, Como

Al Ittihad Close To Reaching Agreement With Diaby

France

Two-time World champions, France has also won two UEFA European Championships. Le Bleus was one of the four European teams that participated in the first World Cup in 1930. 

In 1984, under the leadership of the three-time Ballon d'Or winner Michel Platini, France won Euro 1984 (the team's first official title), a CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup a year later, and reached two World Cup semi-finals (1982 and 1986).

In 1998, France won their first World Cup on home soil under the captaincy of Didier Deschamp and the mercurial skills of Zinedine Zidane. Two years later, they won their second European Championship title.

They also won the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003. Three years later, France made it to the final of the 2006 World Cup, losing 5–3 on penalties to Italy in Zidane's last game for the team which was marred by his headbutting of Marco Materrazi.

Under the current leadership of former captain Deschamp, the team won the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, their second world title after getting to the final of Euro 2016 where they lost to Portugal in extra time. They also reached consecutive World Cup finals in 2022 but faltered 4-2 on penalties to Argentina.

The above success came with the help of players like Hugo Lloris, Lilian Thuram, Olivier Giroud, Antoinne Griezemann, Thiery Henry, Marcel Desailly, Zidane, Patrick Vieira, Deschamp, Karim Benzema, Lauren Blanc, Bixente Lizarazu, amongst others.

Head-To-Head (H2H)

The two teams have won two of their last five head-to-head games with the other one at the 2012 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers ending in a 1-1 draw. Ramos' opener was canceled by Giroud's equaliser for France as Spain finished top of the log with 20 points, three more than France.

Read Also - Sundowns Champions League Triumph: Another Historic Win For South Africa In Women’s Football

The last meeting ended 2-1 in favour of France in the final of the 2021 UEFA Nations League as goals from Benzema and the current captain of the team, Kylian Mbappe lifted them to victory after Mikel Oyarzabal had opened the scoring for the La Rojas.

Both teams got on the scoresheet in just two of the last eight H2Hs.

Players to watch

Oyarzabal scored four goals in two games for Spain before the start of Euro 2024, but he has yet to open his account in the tournament so far. He did, however, net the opener when these two last met in October 2021 (2-1 loss). 

Mbappe also scored in that game and he will be disappointed with just one goal in the competition so far, but having had the second-most attempts in the competition (20), there’s every chance that could change here. 

Verdict

Another tight game to watch. Capable of going to the wire based on how they both qualified for the last four. Spain got a late goal against host Germany while France won the game of wills from penalties against Portugal.

This one might also go that way ending in extra time or penalties.

Kindly Email: keepup@bettitude.com

You can also follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube

 

Bookmark (0)

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be in the Know! Subscribe To BettiSports Daily Newsletter