Euro 2024 preview: All you need to know about Spain vs France semifinal (2024)

Sport|UEFA Euro 2024

Goal-shy France will be looking to silence the critics when they take on Spain in their Euro 2024 semifinal clash on Tuesday in Munich, while their opponents hope to keep their impressive campaign going even without key players.

  • Who: Spain vs France
  • What: Euro 2024 semifinals
  • Where: Munich Football Arena in Munich, Germany
  • When: 9pm (19:00 GMT) kickoff on Tuesday, July 9
  • How to follow: Al Jazeera will bring you live text commentary of the game with build-up starting four hours before kick-off

Spain and France, two titans of European football, will meet in a mouth-watering semifinal clash between both the current and pre-tournament favourites.

The talismanic Kylian Mbappe will lead the line for the French, while promising young winger Lamine Yamal is also catching the eye. But France’s form has faltered, the team having been expected to sweep all before them.

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Spain, the only side with a 100 percent record at Euro 2024, are joint-top in the number of goals (11) and top on total attempts (102) and balls recovered (230), demonstrating why they are now everyone’s hot tip to lift the trophy.

Criticism has been hurled at France for a string of unimpressive performances, including progressing to the last four without scoring a goal in open play.

Despite reaching the final of the last two World Cups, winning in Russia in 2018 and losing only on penalties to Argentina in Qatar in 2022, France’s Euros record under coach Didier Deschamps is less impressive. In his 12 years, their best result was a runner-up spot in 2016 on home soil.

In the quarterfinals, France edged past Portugal on penalties, with Mbappe substituted after another match with more time spent fiddling with his mask rather than threatening the opposition goal.

Mbappe’s form after sustaining a broken nose in France’s opener– and the form of forward Antoine Griezmann – remain big question marks ahead of the clash with Spain, who knocked out hosts Germany with a goal in extra time.

“I don’t give a damn [about the critics],” midfielder Youssouf Fofana told a press conference on Sunday. “We are semifinalists. Questions about the level of Antoine and Kylian? We have to realise that that’s enough to be in the semifinals. So I don’t see why we would nitpick.”

Euro 2024 preview: All you need to know about Spain vs France semifinal (2)

Can Spain excel even without key players?

Spain, in contrast to France, are in imperious form with five straight wins, but will be missing a few key players in the semifinals. Midfielder Pedri is out for the rest of the tournament after injuring his knee in the quarterfinals, while defenders Robin Le Normand and Dani Carvajal are suspended.

In the semifinals, Nacho will play centre back alongside Aymeric Laporte and 38-year-old fullback Jesus Navas, the last player of Spain’s golden generation who won the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2012 in this very tournament, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Euros.

Navas will share the right-hand channel with 16-year-old winger Yamal, one of the key players of the Euros so far. The Barcelona star has consistently troubled opponents’ defences together with the ever so slightly more experienced 21-year-old Nico Williams.

All in all, the team is a blend of deep experience and raw talent that has been thriving under the guidance of coach Luis de la Fuente.

“This is everyone’s national team. Unity is strength and if we all keep pushing in the same direction, we can achieve our goals. If we are connecting with our fans, then I am more than happy to play a part in generating enthusiasm,” de la Fuente told reporters.

The winner of this match will face either England or Netherlands in the final on July 14.

Fun fact

Spain are the only team to win all five matches at Euro 2024 – but no side has ever won six consecutive times at the European Football Championship games.

FIFA ranking:

Spain (8), France (2)

Head-to-head record:

36 games:

  • 16 wins for Spain
  • 13 for France
  • 7 draws

Last five matches:

Spain: W-W-W-W-W
France: D-W-D-D-W

Possible line-ups:

Spain: Unai Simon: Navas, Nacho, Laporte, Cucurella; Olmo, Rodri, Fabian Ruiz; Lamine Yamal, Morata, Williams
Suspended: Carvajal, Le Normand

France: Maignan; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kante, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Griezmann; Kolo Muani, Mbappe

Source

:

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Euro 2024 preview: All you need to know about Spain vs France semifinal (2024)
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