9 Jul, 2024 @ 11:50
2 mins read

Spain vs France EURO 2024 semi-final preview: The unstoppable force meets the immovable object as two of Europe’s heavyweights clash head-on in Munich tonight

SPAIN the unstoppable force have blazed their way through Euro 2024 to set up a seismic struggle with the immovable object that is France in the semi-finals tonight.

Les Bleus had been many people’s pre-tournament favourites, however their performances have been more than underwhelming.

Meanwhile La Roja, who have flattered to deceive in recent tournaments, have finally reclaimed their aura as Europe’s colossus with a series of swashbuckling displays in Germany.

They squeaked past a very strong German side in the quarter finals with a 118th-minute winning goal in a game that many billed as a premature final.

READ MORE: Spain’s teenage football sensation Lamine Yamal, 16, passes his school exams while playing at Euro 2024

Spanish football fans are gearing themselves up for a titanic struggle against France tonight

The last minute winner, scored by Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino, 28, echoed a goal scored by his father, Angel Miguel Merino, in the same stadium in 1991.

Just an hour later on Friday evening, their opponents France sent the whole of Europe to sleep with a 0-0 borefest against a powerful Portuguese side handicapped by the presence of a 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.

The world’s premier player, Kylien Mbappe, 25, was once again anonymous and withdrawn before the penalty shootout, which France won thanks to a miss from João Felix, 24. 

Thus going into the semi-final the two teams could not be enduring more contrasting fortunes.

Spain have maintained an impressive 100% record, winning all their games and scoring 11 goals.

France, on the other hand, have yet to score from open play, scoring just one penalty from Mbappe and being the beneficiaries of two own goals. However they have only conceded one goal in their five games.

READ MORE: Football leaks whistleblower promises to release sensational ‘criminally relevant’ allegations against Manchester City already facing 115 charges at top conference on Spain’s Costa del Sol

France’s star player Kylien Mbappe received a broken nose in France’s first game of the tournament against Austria

Two of Spain’s senior heads in the shape of defenders Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand will be suspended for the tie after receiving a red card and a second booking respectively, while France boast a strong pedigree in recent tournaments, winning the 2018 World Cup and reaching the final of the 2022 edition. 

Head-to-head, the two teams are very evenly matched, with six wins each and two draws.

They have met four times at European Championships, with France coming out on top in the 1984 final and 2000 quarter-final.

But recent history will be on the side of Spain, who won in the 2012 quarter-final. On all three occasions the winner went on to claim the trophy. They also drew 1-1 in the 1996 group stage.

The key duel of the tie will come between arguably Spain’s best player, Manchester City lynchpin Rodri, and legendary France World Cup and Champions League winner N’golo Kante.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente said: “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.”

His French counterpart, Didier Deschamps, was equally effusive over Spain, calling them the best team in the tournament.

“All Spain teams have always had a good midfield who are able to control games. Rodri in particular is essential to the Spanish team, but all their players are important,” he added.

Match stats nerds Opta have Spain as favourites with a 38.2% chance of victory, and France 31.8%. The match kicks off at 9pm Spanish time in the Munich Football Arena

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es
@waltfinc

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