Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Spain enter final with comeback win over France


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Munich, July 10: After seeing off another one of the pre-tournament favorites to reach the Euro 2024 final, Spain coach Luis de la Fuente has warned England or the Netherlands that his team can still improve.
Spain reached the European Championship decider with a 2-1 victory over France on Tuesday, with 16-year-old Lamine Yamal magic at the continental tournament.
France took an early lead when Randal Kolo Muani headed in a cross from Kylian Mbappé, who played without a mask, before Yamal’s moment of brilliance in the 21st minute. Dani Olmo scored the clincher four minutes later.“We knew they were a great team, and they proved it again tonight,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “Even though we were fortunate to open the scoring, Spain made things difficult for us.
“They were superior in terms of control and technique. The team that gave the best impression was Spain. So they deserve to win tonight.” Spain has been the best performing team of Euro 2024. It is the only team to have won all its matches and has scored 13 times, equaling a Spanish record for most goals at a European Championship and only one behind the overall record set by France in 1984.
“I’m sure the final will be totally different, against opponents who will demand the best from us,” De la Fuente said. “Even though it might sound difficult, there is room for improvement.” Spain will find out its next opponent when England plays the Netherlands in the second semifinal at Dortmund on Wednesday.
There was surprise in Munich when Mbappé went onto the field without the mask he has been wearing since sustaining a broken nose in France’s opening group game at Euro 2024.
Mbappé had been complaining the mask was impeding him, and ditching it appeared to have an immediate effect as he created the game’s opening goal in the ninth minute with a cross to the back post that was headed in by Randal Kolo Muani.
That was the first goal France had scored at Euro 2024 that wasn’t a penalty or an own-goal. Fortunately for Les Bleus they had also been exceptional at the back, allowing just one goal, a retaken penalty by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in the group stage.“It is incredible what the team is doing. We deserve to be in the final, one step from glory,” Olmo said. (AP)


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